June 2007

Priest jailed for sex with boy

A Catholic priest has been jailed for more than three years for sexually abusing a boy who had asked for advice as he was confused about his sexuality.

Father Peter Grant, 58, of Balfour Mews, Bovingdon, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to four charges of sexual activity with a child.

Grant was arrested after the teenager, 15, told another priest what had happened in a confession.

That priest told him to tell the police, St Albans Crown Court heard.

When the allegations came to light Grant took an overdose of whisky and tablets in an attempt to commit suicide, the court was told.

Prosecutor Sally Mealing-McLeod said Grant abused the boy four times, on three different occasions, between January and March this year.

It began when Grant stayed at the boy’s home. The youngster went to the room where Grant was sleeping to talk to him about the problems he was having with his sexuality.

But Grant, who was in bed, pulled the boy close to him, kissed him and then sexually abused him, the court heard.

On another occasion he abused the boy at the Sacred Heart Church in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, where he had been priest for 10 years.

‘Grievous betrayal’

Joy Dykers, defending, said that after Grant was suspended by the church, on 19 April this year, he attempted suicide.

She asked for credit for his guilty plea and said he was of previous good character and had shown genuine remorse.

Jailing Grant for a total of 40 months, judge Michael Baker QC said: “Apart from the age gap what makes this especially bad is that the boy came to you as a Catholic Priest seeking sexual advice and guidance. Your acts were a gross breach of trust.”

A spokesperson for the RC Diocese of Westminster Eddie Tulasiewicz said: “The offences carried out by Father Peter Grant are a grievous betrayal of his responsibilities as a priest.”