Monday, 25 July 2016

Former County Durham Archdeacon to stand trial accused of abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre

11:35, 25 Jul 2016    
Updated 11:35, 25 Jul 2016    
By Laura Hill

George Granville Gibson denies eight charges of indecent assault and is due to stand trial at Durham Crown Court

Former Darlington and Aycliffe church minister George Granville Gibson, 79 leaves Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court charged with a number of historical sexual offences 
A former County Durham archdeacon will appear in court today as part of one of the UK’s biggest investigations into historic sex abuse.

George Granville Gibson, a former Archdeacon of Auckland, has denied eight counts of sexual assaults against two men dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

Gibson will stand trial at Durham Crown Court accused of eight charges of indecent assault.

The retired cleric was charged in 2014 as part of Operation Seabrook, one of the UK’s largest investigations into historic sex abuse.

He has denied the charges against him.

Gibson held a number of posts with the Church of England before serving as Archdeacon of Auckland.

A number of the charges relate to historical abuse which occurred during Gibson’s role in the Clergy in the Diocese of Durham. The alleged offences took place in the 1970s and 1980s. One charge relates to an alleged indecent assault during a visit to an inmate at Medomsley Detention Centre.

The investigation into Medomsley Detention Centre is ongoing and more than 300 survivors of abuse at Medomlsey Detention Centre have come forward.

The trial is expected to last a number of weeks.


Church leaders 'ignored complaints' about vicar who abused men and boys, court hear.

Former Archdeacon of Durham, George Granville Gibson, denies eight charges of indecent assault which allegedly took place in the 1970s and 80s 

 Former Darlington and Aycliffe church minister George Granville Gibson, 79 leaves Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court charged with a number of historical sexual offences

Senior church leaders ignored complaints that a former clergy man abused his position and sexually assaulted men and boys as young as 12 over a six-year period, a court heard.

George Granville Gibson, 80, denies eight counts of indecent assault and one count of buggery which prosecutors allege took place when he was a vicar at St Clares Church in Newton Aycliffe.

The retired former Archdeacon of Durham is said to have sexually abused three people between 1977 and 1984.

On the first day of a trial at Durham Crown Court on Monday, it was heard concerns were raised in the 1980s by one of them, who was then accused of “causing trouble”.

Outlining the case against Gibson, prosecutor Paul Cleasby said: “This is a case of sexual abuse where the defendant was in a position of power and committed offences against someone in a much more vulnerable position, made worse, say the prosecution, as the defendant was able to be cloaked in a veneer of respectability.

“The prosecution say the defendant deliberately targeted these people because of their vulnerability which meant they were unlikely to be believed.

“It was systematic, deliberate abuse.”

Gibson’s first alleged victim was a teenager who, giving evidence on Monday, told the court the accused appeared friendly and caring at first.

But within a few weeks Gibson’s tickling, play fighting and wrestling progressed to indecent assault, it was said.

“I felt sick, I thought it wasn’t happening I thought it was a mistake,” the alleged victim told jurors.

The complainant also told the court he was called a “liar” when raising concerns, before being sent to Medomsley Detention Centre.

While at the young offenders’ detention centre, prosecutors say Gibson visited and indecently assaulted the youth again.

The alleged victim said: “I was crying, Medomsley is a regime. The kicking, the punching - they stamp out everything, your identity.

“I had black eyes, I was crying ‘can you get me out? Can you get me out of here?’ I asked him. I would have done anything to get out.”

The jury of five women and seven men heard how even his parents did not believe him.
“My mam slapped me across the face and told me never to darken her door step again,”
 the alleged victim said. “I never did, she went to her grave not believing. She never met her grandkids, she called me a liar, my own mother.”

After Gibson’s arrest in 2014, he denied knowing the alleged victim until police found diary entries detailing his visit to the detention centre, the court heard.

Gibson’s second alleged victim was a choirboy, the prosecution said, who was aged between 12 and 16 when he was allegedly subjected to indecent assaults.

“As a young boy of 12 he didn’t know what to do and he just let the defendant do what he did,” Mr Cleasby told jurors.

It was more than 20 years later before the complainant told anyone about the abuse he had suffered, it was said.

“He didn’t think anyone would believe him,” Mr Cleasby added.

The court heard that Gibson’s third alleged victim raised concerns about his “sexualised” behaviour to the then Bishop of Durham, but that his concerns were ignored.

Gibson had confided in the alleged victim that he had developed homosexual thoughts in his 30s and was worried it would all come out and his wife would find out, Mr Cleasby alleged.

He then told the complainant that he had been to a meeting and “had the spirit of homosexuality cast out of him and it would be alright”, the prosecution said.

Mr Cleasby said that the church made it clear to the alleged victim that he was “causing trouble” after he reported his worries.

He said: “He [Gibson] was in a high position in the church to gain access to and abuse vulnerable people.”

Gibson, of Worsley Park, Darlington, denies all charges.