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Diocese of Lichfield insists protection of children is a ‘top priority’ after priest is convicted

The Diocese of Lichfield has said that the protection of youngsters is a “top priority” after one of its priests was convicted of downloading indecent images of children.

The Revd Dominic Stone, Team Vicar of Marchington, Marchington Woodlands, Kingstone and Leigh in the Uttoxeter Area Team Ministry will be sentenced next month.

He has been suspended since the police investigation began in 2009.

Gavin Drake , the director of communications for the Diocese of Lichfield, said:

“The downloading and viewing of indecent images of children is a very serious offence which not only depicts, but also feeds, the actual physical abuse of innocent children.

“The protection of children is a top priority for the Lichfield Diocese and the Church of England as a whole; and after being informed of the police investigation in January 2009 Dominic Stone was removed from duties and then suspended in accordance with the Clergy Discipline Measure and Rules.

“Following today’s conviction the Bishop of Lichfield will follow the procedures laid down in law and await the sentence before considering the removal of Dominic Stone from his current position and prohibition of serving as a priest.  Dominic Stone’s suspension continues until the conclusion of this process.”

Following the verdict, the Diocese has urged its members to help bring justice in cases such as this.

Mr Drake added:

“During the trial Dominic Stone repeatedly said that somebody else had downloaded the images but that it was not his responsibility to find out who was responsible.  The Diocese of Lichfield would like to make clear that it expects all clergy to co-operate fully with police investigations into child abuse so that justice can be delivered to the victims of this appalling crime.”

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