Priest's Denial over Child Porn
By Ben Griffin
icCoventry [United Kingdom]
July 4, 2006
A WARWICKSHIRE priest at the centre of child porn allegations has protested his innocence.
Fr Tony Jones, of St Peter the Apostle Church, in Dormer Place, Leamington, is accused of down-loading child pornography.
As part of a seven-month investigation, police seized a computer from the parish office of the church on June 12 and arrested the 55-year-old.
He was released on police bail pending further inquiries and, after answering his bail at Leamington police station on Friday, he was charged with 17 counts of making indecent images of children.
He has been bailed to appear before Mid Warwickshire magistrates at Leamington on Friday, July 14.
Today The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, the diocese which oversees churches in Coventry and Warwickshire, said in a statement: "Over the past seven months, Warwickshire police have been examining computers used by Fr Jones in both Caversham and Leamington.
"Finally, on the afternoon of Friday, June 30, charges were brought against Fr Jones.
"On Monday, July 3, the Warwickshire police issued a statement detailing these charges and stating that Fr Jones must appear at the magistrates' court on Friday July 14.
"Fr Jones vehemently denies the charges.
"These events will cause distress and dismay to many.
"Please remember that the charges have yet to be tested in court."
Archbishop Nichols added: "I ask the people of the Archdiocese of Birmingham to keep Fr Jones very much in their prayers as he prepares for the due process of law."
It is understood Fr Jones joined the church towards the end of last year.
In a posting on the website of St Peter's, Fr Jones wrote in December: "I am... privileged to become parish priest of Leamington; your warm welcome, encouragement and patient kindness have helped me settle in much more quickly than I thought possible, and I am so grateful for that."
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