November 2015

Former church deacon given 32-month jail term for sex offences on young boys

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A former Church of England priest who used Skype to make contact with vulnerable young boys has been jailed for 32 months for a string of sex offences.

Peter Keeley-Pannett, 71, stood quietly in the dock at Guildford Crown Court, Surrey, as Judge Robert Fraser told him that he “remains a high risk of serious harm to children”.

Pannett, of Brighton, was a non-stipendiary deacon in the Diocese of Chichester in West Sussex until his arrest last November.

Keeley-Pannett used a webcam to meet boys as young as 13 years old in chatrooms. His offences spanned around two years from 2010, the court heard.

The judge told Keeley-Pannett that it “must have been apparent” he was in touch with “vulnerable” children once he was in the chatrooms even though he had not deliberately targeted them.

Keeley-Pannett, a retired deacon had previously pleaded guilty to seven offences.

Despite his co-operation “there is something very wrong here and something needs to be done,” the judge said, as he jailed him for a total of 32 months.

The premeditation, the age gap and the vulnerability of the children were all aggravating factors, according to the judge.

Keeley-Pannett was sentenced to one month each for two counts of making 156 indecent images of children. This sentence is to run concurrently.

He was also sentenced to 20 months each on two counts of causing or inciting a boy of 14 to engage in sexual activity. This is also a concurrent sentence.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on each of two charges of causing a boy aged 13 to 15 to watch images of sexual activity.

The judge said these should run concurrent to each other but one is to run consecutively to his other time to be served.

Keeley-Pannett was also sentenced to 12 months imprisonment to run concurrently, for one count of attempting to cause a boy over 13 to engage in sexual activity.

A further count of making indecent images of children is to lie on file.

A sexual harm prevention order was also granted which restricts Keeley-Pannett’s use of the internet and communication with young boys.

He must also pay a £120 surcharge.

Sussex Police have said that none of the victims are from Sussex.