Lay brother guilty of sexually molesting children 40 years ago

THE lay brother of a holy order accused of sexually molesting little girls at his priory in London’s East End 40 years ago has been found guilty this afternoon. A jury found pensioner Liam Roberts, now 80, guilty on 14 offences which all took place between 1969 and 1978

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THE lay brother of a holy order accused of sexually molesting schoolgirls as young as six at his priory in London’s East End 40 years ago has been found guilty this afternoon.

A jury convicted pensioner Liam Roberts, who turned 80 last month, on 14 charges of indecent assault, one of indecency with a child and one of gross indecency, which all took place between 1969 and 1978.

Roberts committed offences against two children when he was lay brother at The Order at Our Lady of Assumption’s priory in Bethnal Green in the late 1960s, and against two girls at a church in Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire in the 70s.

The girls were all between six and 11 at the time they were molested, when Roberts was in his 30s and 40s.

BROUGHT TO JUSTICE

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Det Chief Ins Kevin Baldwin of the Met Police Child Abuse investigation team said this evening: “This conviction demonstrates that the courts will not tolerate such behaviour. People will be brought to justice, however far back.”

Roberts, now living in Northamptonshire, had previously admitted indecent assault on one child at an earlier hearing at Luton crown court. He will be sentenced on April 3.

An investigation was launched by police in 2006, after a 46-year-old woman alleged she was molested as a girl between the ages of nine and 11.

Three more women now in their late 30s and 40s were traced, including one who emigrated to Australia, all claiming Roberts indecently assaulted them during religious instruction lessons. It included kissing and fondling and forcing them to touch him.

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