Former archdeacon Granville Gibson jailed for indecent assault of youth in the 1970s

Granville Gibson has been jailed for a third time after being convicted of historic sex abuse on a teenager. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A former archdeacon has been jailed for a third time after being convicted of historic sex abuse on a teenager.

The retired Archdeacon of Auckland, George Granville Gibson, 86, was jailed at Durham Crown Court for 21 months for two counts of indecent assault on a youth aged 17 or 18 in the 1970s.

Gibson denied the offences but was convicted of rubbing himself against his victim in a church hall and at a party, leaving the teenager feeling embarrassed and humiliated.

He came forward to police after seeing media reports detailing Gibson’s first trial for historic abuse in 2016, when he was jailed for 12 months for indecently assaulting two men in the 1970s.

The disgraced senior clergyman, of Worsley Park, Darlington, was also convicted in 2019 and was handed a further 10 months for indecently assaulting a teenager, again in the 1970s.

Judge James Adkin, sitting at Durham Crown Court, told the defendant his offending was aggravated as it was an abuse of trust.

Only an immediate custodial sentence could be imposed, despite Gibson’s age and the fact he had been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, the judge said.

“Hubristic sex offenders in a position of authority must know that they will be sent to prison if they abuse children in that community,” the judge said.

Rob Mochrie, mitigating, said the police first interviewed the victim before Gibson’s second trial in 2019, and he argued these offences could have been added to that case.

But Gibson could have avoided this latest prosecution by admitting what he did to this latest victim at either of his previous trials, the judge said.

“This was a pattern of offending,” the defendant was told.

“You committed offences against young men who you encountered during your role as vicar.”

The victim suffered psychological harm as a result of what happened to him more than 40 years ago, and it had caused problems in his relationship, and he had undergone counselling.

The judge told Gibson: “You were, of course, a highly esteemed member of the community – he was a teenager and considered himself, in his words, a nobody.”

A previous independent review by the church authorities into Gibson’s offending, found that complaints about his behaviour were dismissed as “drunkenness” at the time.

He was found to have been arrogant about his senior position in the Church of England, the review found.

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