Vicar in child abuse probe

EADT 24, UK/July 24, 2008

A vicar from an Essex town has been suspended from his duties after being arrested in connection with child abuse allegations.

The Rev Trevor Diaper, of St Peter's Church in Bocking, Braintree, has been released on bail until August 7.

The vicar, who has also been suspended from his post as a governor of a central Essex primary school, was arrested by police last month over allegations of historic child abuse,

He declined to comment last night but stunned neighbours said he had done "a lot of good" for the local community.

One resident in his vicarage of St Peter's in the Field said he often passed the time of day with the father-of-two but had not seen him for several days and was shocked by the developments.

The neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: "He's done a lot of good work for the community here. I can say nothing against him."

Another painted a more reserved picture, saying the vicar would "keep himself to himself" and had rarely said "good morning" or spoke at any great length with him during more than a decade on the street.

Mr Diaper was formerly vicar of Ardleigh and Great and Little Bromley and it is thought the allegations date back to his time in the Colchester area.

A statement issued by the Chelmsford Diocese of the Church of England confirmed the news and said it had a "comprehensive" child protection policy that covered all parishes in Essex.

It read: "The Bishop of Chelmsford has suspended Mr Diaper from his duties as Vicar of St Peter's Church in Bocking while this investigation continues, in line with standard Church of England procedures."

The Bishop of Colchester, The Right Reverend Christopher Morgan, said the church expected the "very highest" standards from its clergy and had a duty under God to protect all who are vulnerable in society, especially children and young people.

He said: "The investigations do not imply any judgements on Mr Diaper and it is vital that they be allowed to proceed in a responsible and appropriate manner so that justice is done."

He said the vicar and his family were being supported at this difficult time by the church and his prayers were with those involved in the situation.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: "In light of an allegation - now the subject of a police investigation - that has been made against a governor of a primary school in central Essex, the governor involved has been instructed not to contact or visit the school until the matter has been resolved."

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed that a 57-year-old man was arrested in connection with allegations of historic child abuse on the morning of Thursday, June 26 and was questioned by detectives at Braintree Police Station.

He said: "He was released on police bail, pending further inquiries, until August 7."

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.