On 26 June 2019, former parish priest Peter Stuart McConnell was convicted following a trial at Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court of a sexual assault on a young adult male. The offence was committed on an overnight flight to the UK in March 2017.
The 2019 court hearing was a retrial, a previous jury having failed to reach a verdict the year before. On 16th August 2019, he was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
An independent reviewer was commissioned by the Diocese of Newcastle to prepare a ‘Lessons Learned Review’ of the Peter McConnell case and of the handling of non-recent allegations made against him dating back to 1998.
You can read the review here.
Responding to the report, the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley said:
“I welcome this report’s findings and its recommendations, all of which have been addressed. Where there have been failures in the past, we are committed to ensuring they do not happen again and the report recognises our increasing professionalism in the field of safeguarding in recent years. Peter McConnell brought disgrace to the Church and I apologise for the hurt and harm he caused. I am relieved to say that he has been prohibited for life from carrying out any form of ministry. In the Diocese of Newcastle, the safety of everyone is our absolute priority and I am grateful to the independent reviewer for preparing this comprehensive and important report.”
Anyone affected by the findings of the report can visit our safeguarding page for information on where to find help and support.
The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser is Carol Butler who can be contacted on 07825 167016 or via email email@example.com
If you have been affected by any Church related abuse, free, independent, and confidential support can be accessed via Safe Spaces or 0300 303 1056.