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  1. ITV Report

Priest jailed for sex attacks on schoolgirl which took place 40 years ago

A priest has been jailed for three years for sex attacks on a teenage schoolgirl more than 40 years ago.

John Farmer was a priest at St Mary's Church in Newport. Credit: Wales News Service

John Farmer, now 84, abused the girl between the ages of 12 and 14 while her family were part of his congregation.

A court heard heard the Roman Catholic priest referred to his lap as "the soft seat" - and then abused her as she sat on him.

The girl "idolised" the family priest and the court heard she was "immature and blameless" during the assaults.

Farmer was a priest at St Mary's Church in Newport and a governor at St Joseph's RC High School in Duffryn, Newport.

An investigation into the indecent assaults was started in 1993 by police forces but Farmer denied the attacks.

But the case was re-investigated and Farmer was later charged with 27 counts of indecent assault.

Farmer, now of Guildford, Surrey, was found guilty of nine of the charges.

Cardiff Crown Court heard a pleas from defence barrister Duncan Cooke that the "intrinsically aggressive" environment of a prison would damage his health.

A doctor's report also revealed that imprisonment was likely to "adversely affect his life expectancy."

But Recorder Richard Williams sentenced Farmer to three years jail.

You were asked about these offences in the 1990s and you denied them.

You could have been brought to justice then and you must bear culpability for the period of delay.

The effects on your victim have been both lifelong and profound.

– Recorder Richard Williams

He will be listed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.