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Priest’s clerical status to be removed following jail sentence for child abuse

Fr Dennis Finbow, a retired priest of the Diocese of East Anglia, has today (March 8) been sentenced to six-and-a-half-years in jail for  three historic (non-recent) child sexual abuse offences.

The sentence was passed at Cambridge Crown Court and follows his conviction at Huntingdon Crown Court on January 31.

Fr Finbow was charged in January 2022 by officers from Cambridgeshire Police with the offences relating to his service as a Catholic priest in Peterborough in the 1980s and 1990s.

Following a six-day trial, Fr Finbow was convicted by a jury of three counts of indecent assault on a child and found not guilty of the remaining three offences..

Rt Rev Peter Collins, Bishop of East Anglia said: “As a result of Fr Finbow’s conviction and sentence, I will now begin the process of removal of his clerical status and rights (laicisation) with immediate effect, in accordance with our safeguarding policies and procedures.”

Fr Finbow has been retired and not in active ministry since 2001. Prior to his retirement he had served in parishes in Peterborough and St Neots, Cambridgeshire.  

Bishop Peter said: “The safeguarding of children and vulnerable people is of paramount importance to the Catholic Church and the Diocese of East Anglia has co-operated fully with the police and other statutory authorities throughout this investigation.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim in this case and also other victims of child sexual abuse.  We would encourage any victim of child sexual abuse perpetrated within the Catholic Church context to make contact either directly through our Safeguarding Office or with Safe Spaces, our Victim Support Service.

“Should anyone have any concerns or queries about the Dennis Finbow case then I would encourage them to contact Mick Thurley, our Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator on 07429 215344.”