August 2021

Paedophile vicar, 80, was invited back by Church of England to resume his duties despite it knowing he was convicted of molesting boy in 1980s

A paedophile vicar was allowed to resume his duties by the Church of England after being convicted of molesting a 13-year-old boy. 

David Beater, 80, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years on Monday for sexually assaulting two boys, aged eight and 13, between 1982 and 1985. 

The clergyman, from Birchington, Kent, resigned from St Botolphs and St Mark’s church in Northfleet, Kent, after he was convicted of abusing the 13-year-old boy, in 1985 and fined £250.  

Despite the Church of England knowing of that conviction in 1985 and his subsequent resignation, Maidstone Crown Court was told he was ‘invited back’ into the ministry and resumed his duties until 2010. 

On Monday, Beater pleaded guilty to five offences relating to the abuse committed between 1982 and 1985.

Judge Philip Statman said his offending ‘constituted a profound and grave breach of trust’. 

‘All these offences cause a sense of public outrage when they come to light.Sexual offending of this kind leaves the greatest of scars upon its victims,’ he added.

The judge also praised the ‘consummate bravery’ of the victims, and further remarked it was not for him to ‘pass judgment’ on the decision by the Church of England to invite Beater back ‘after the passage of time’. 

Beater was also made subject to a five year sexual harm prevention order, barred from working with children and vulnerable young adults, and ordered to sign on the sex offender register indefinitely. 

Prosecutor Sophie Shotton told the court the historic abuse of the two boys only came to light in 2017 and 2018.

One, who was aged around eight or nine years old at the time he was molested, later tried to kill himself and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

‘His mother was keen for him to be introduced to their local vicar, the defendant, with the intention he would be baptised at that church,’ Ms Shotten told the court. 

Ms Shotten said the young boy later attended St Botolphs church where he was molested.

He told police of two further incidents ‘of a similar nature’ which saw Beater sexually assaulting him.

In a victim impact statement to the court, he described how Beater’s depraved acts had affected ‘every facet’ of his life, and left him feeling angry, with low self-esteem and an ‘immense’ sense of guilt.

But he said he hoped by speaking out about child abuse, other victims would find the courage to do the same. 

The court heard Beater was known for organising sports matches between local boys and invited them to play squash with him.

It was after one such game the second victim was sexually assaulted.

The victim later told police of the ‘profound’ impact Beater’s abuse had on him, resulting in depression and flashbacks.

Beater was arrested in April 2018 but gave a no comment interview.