UK: Child porn vicar expelled from church

A church disciplinary tribunal in the UK has ordered that a vicar who amassed thousands of indecent images of children should be expelled from the clergy, it was announced today.

A church disciplinary tribunal in the UK has ordered that a vicar who amassed thousands of indecent images of children should be expelled from the clergy, it was announced today.

It said Richard Hart should be deposed from Holy Orders by the Church in Wales.

He was jailed for three-and-a-half years in September after he admitted collecting more than 56,000 images, some of girls as young as four.

Cardiff Crown Court last year heard how police found a "veritable Aladdin's Cave" of paedophile material when they raided Hart's vicarage in Beguildy, near Knighton, Mid Wales.

The Church tribunal found allegations that he was guilty of conduct giving rise to just cause for scandal or offence were overwhelmingly proved.

Hart declined to attend the hearing on Monday, providing a written statement instead. He would be allowed to appeal the decision before he is formally expelled, a Church in Wales spokeswoman said.

Tribunal president Gerald Elias QC said: "In the light of the immense seriousness and depravity of the offences, involving as often they did, images of very young children, the length of time over which they had been committed, the absence of any clear statement of regret or apology - still less understanding of the gravity of his conduct and thus the danger he still poses to children - we were unhesitatingly of the view that by reason of his conduct it was wholly inappropriate for Richard Hart to remain a cleric and accordingly we order that Richard Hart be deposed from Holy Orders and expelled from the Office of Cleric of the Church in Wales."

The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, the Rt Rev John Davies, said: "I am satisfied that this extremely serious matter has been dealt with accordingly by the Tribunal.

"It sends out the very clear message that there is no room for any form of child abuse in the Church in Wales."

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