A church warden carried on abusing girls after the vicar dismissed fears about his behaviour. An assistant priest, informed the vicar that he had seen Middleton being 'unnecessarily physical' with children. Middleton, who abused one child during a church service, admitted four counts of sexual activity with a child and three offences of sexual assault.
Middleton was sentenced to three years in jail in September 2007, Judge Kerry MacGill told him: "You have cloaked yourself in the church's respectability and you took advantage of that position of trust." The allegations came to light when the mother of a victim contacted police and three more victims came forward.
After the case, a Church of England spokesman for the Diocese of Wakefield said: "Middleton had been checked and cleared through the Criminal Records Bureau and was suspended as soon as the diocese was made aware of the allegations." She added that although some informal concerns were raised about Middleton, "the church had no reason to suspect inappropriate behaviour".
Middleton was made the subject of an indefinite sexual prevention order and will be on the sex offender's register for life. A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "We are pleased with this custodial sentence. It goes some way to helping the victims and their families move on."
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