October 22, 2020 3.12 pm This story is over 14 months old

Former priest denies sexually touching boys

He’ll face a trial next April

A former priest in Grimsby who denies sexually touching a number of boys will face trial in April next year.

Father Terry Atkinson, 68, was summoned to appear before Lincoln Magistrates Court last month accused of five offences of sexual assault, contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 1956.

The summons followed an investigation by Lincolnshire Police into alleged indecent assaults on boys.

Some of the offences are alleged to have occurred while he was involved with St Johns and St Stephens Church Centre, which is now known as the Shalom Youth Project, on Grimsby’s East Marsh estate.

It comes as part of a Lincolnshire Police investigation into historic sexual abuse cases within the Diocese of Lincoln known as Operation Redstone.

Atkinson, of Tetney Road, Humberston, was excused attending a plea and trial preparation hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on Thursday, October 22.

No pleas were put during the ten minute hearing but Atkinson denies all the allegations made against him.

Judge John Pini QC adjourned the case for a trial beginning at Lincoln Crown Court on April 26 next year.

It is estimated to last five to six days.

Operation Redstone

Three men were convicted – Roy Griffiths, John Bailey and Stephen Crabtree – for historical sexual offences against children and vulnerable people.

The trials highlighted a culture of coverups in the church.

Investigations found decades of allegations had been ignored by former Bishops of Lincoln.

Abuse cases were not referred to police until decades later, it was revealed in the Church of England Past Cases Review.

Victims also spoke out the first time in a BBC Panorama documentary.

Spotted an error? Please notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.