Rye Catholic Priest is Sentanced

Catholic priest from Rye sentenced over indecent images of children

05 February 2016


Paul Clarke, 71, a Roman Catholic priest, now of Urmston, Manchester, but formerly of Watchbell Street, Rye, East Sussex, pleaded guilty to offences relating to indecent images of children when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court today Friday 5 February.


One concerned his possession of an indecent image of a child, another concerned his possession of prohibited images, and three concerned his making a total of 3100 indecent images of children.

All the offences involved images taken from the Internet. There is no evidence of contact offending and none of the images are of local children.

Clarke was given an eight month prison sentence suspended for two years. He will be a registered sex offender for ten years and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, severely restricting his access to computers
The prosecution followed an intelligence-led investigation by the Paedophile On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT) of Sussex Police.

Officers had executed a search warrant at Clarke’s Rye address, the residential presbytery attached to St Anthony’s Church, on 13 November 2014, and seized computers and related material.

Rye’s Own Bulletin Friday 5 February 2016