Priest jailed for three years for historic sex offences at Richmond council-run children’s home

A Catholic priest found guilty of child sex offences at a Richmond children’s home was today sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Father Anthony McSweeney, 68, was found guilty of the indecent assault of a young boy at Grafton Close children’s home in Hanwell where he worked on an ad hoc basis in 1981 under Operation Fernbridge.

McSweeney was convicted of one count of indecent assault of a boy under 16 and three counts of making indecent photographs of children on or before January 15 2013 in February.

McSweeney was offered a ‘helper’ role at the home by the officer in charge, John Stingemore, who was also charged with a number of offences and was due to stand trial alongside McSweeney until he died in January 2014.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Keith Braithwaite, from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command said: “McSweeney was an abuser who used his role in a position of trust.

“I would like to pay tribute to the courage of the victim in speaking out against McSweeney.

“It was that testimonial that secured the charges and enabled this case to be brought to court.”

“I am only sorry that McSweeney in denying his offences has forced the victim to relive the experience in court.

“I hope however that today’s result will give the victim some sense of closure.”

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