A CHURCH of England charity worker who molested a teenage boy was given a suspended sentence yesterday after a judge was told that he suffered serious health problems.
Patrick Gilbert, 59, who had a character reference from a former Archbishop of Canterbury, admitted three specimen charges of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old boy over a two-year period.
And the churchman, who served 10 years as a member of the Archbishop's Committee on Roman Catholicism, also confessed to a previous conviction for indecent assault on two 13-year-old boys in 1962 while a school teacher.
The former president of the Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge smiled as he left Wood Green Crown Court in north London accompanied by the resident Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, the Rev Christopher Hill. Gilbert refused to comment on the offence or the sentence of three terms of nine months suspended for two years each.
Sentencing him, Judge Michael McMullan, said Gilbert was a 'wealthy and influential' man who had breached the trust of the boy and his parents. He added: 'With an offence of this kind only a custodial sentence could be justified. Considering the seriousness of the offence, I entirely take into account your breach of the boy's trust.
'You have also breached the trust of his parents, who put their son in your care because they believed you were the kind of man you appeared to be.'
But the judge decided not to jail the bachelor because of his health and 'very severe punishment' he had already undergone through losing his reputation. Gilbert, of Hampstead, north London, had been admitted to hospital last week with heart trouble, the court was told, and psychiatrists assessed him as a suicide risk.
The judge said: 'You were a man, wealthy and in an influential position, able to assist this young man in his chosen career.
'Whatever your motives originally were, it ended in wholly illegal sexual gratification with a 14-year-old boy.
'Any quality of consensuality has to be looked at against the background of the fact that you, a wealthy and influential man, were assisting and enabling him in his career.'
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