A Birchington pensioner who was a vicar in Northfleet has been jailed for sexual offences committed against two boys in the 1980s.
David Beater abused his position of trust by subjecting both victims to a sustained campaign of abuse.
His offending was first reported to Kent Police in 2017 and a thorough investigation led to the 80-year-old admitting five sexual offences.
Beater, of Minnis Road, Birchington, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court today (August 23) to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Detective Chief Inspector Keith Roberts, from Kent Police, said: “Owing to the position Beater occupied, people naturally trusted him and viewed him as a person to turn to for support. He abused this trust in the worst possible way.
“Many years may have passed from the time of the offending, but that does not in any way undo the harm he has caused.
“His offending has impacted each victim’s life in unimaginable ways and it took exceptional courage for each of them to speak to us about their ordeal.
“I am pleased Beater has now been held to account and I sincerely hope this outcome provides the victims with a sense of justice and closure.
“Anyone affected by similar offending needs to know we have specialist officers across the county who will do everything in their power to support them. Please do not suffer alone, contact us so that we can help you.”
The Rt Rev Simon Burton Jones, Bishop of Tonbridge, said on behalf of the Diocese of Rochester: “We are deeply saddened and appalled by the Rev David Beater’s crimes and will be keeping all those affected by his actions in our prayers.
“The victim impact statements read out in court demonstrate the devastating and lifelong impact David Beater’s abuse has had on their lives.
“We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward and acknowledge how difficult this would have been.We apologise unreservedly to them for what has happened and for what they have experienced.
“The facts of this case raise concerning questions about decisions and actions taken by the Church in relation to David’s ministry. Because of this, the matter has now been referred to the National Safeguarding Team in accordance with the House of Bishops’ guidelines.
“Mr Beater is retired and has not been in active ministry for more than ten years.
“As a diocese, we take the safety and wellbeing of children and young people very seriously and have robust safeguarding procedures in place.
“Anyone with any concerns relating to this case, or any other safeguarding is encouraged to get in touch directly with one of our safeguarding advisers who will offer confidential support and advice – or to speak with someone else they trust.
“They can also contact Safe Spaces – an independent and confidential service supporting survivors of church related abuse (www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk / 0300 303 1056).”