A former archdeacon has been jailed for a third time after being convicted of sexual abuse against a teenager in the 1970s.
The retired archdeacon of Auckland George Granville Gibson, 86, was sentenced to 21 months after being convicted at Durham crown court of two counts of indecent assault on a youth aged 17 or 18.
Gibson was accused of rubbing himself against his victim in a church hall and at a party, leaving the teenager feeling embarrassed and humiliated.
The complainant came forward to police after seeing media reports on Gibson’s first trial in 2016, when he was jailed for 12 months for indecently assaulting two men in the 1970s.
Gibson, of Darlington, was convicted in 2019 of indecently assaulting a teenager, again in the 1970s, and handed a further 10 months.
On Thursday the judge James Adkin told the defendant that his offending was aggravated as it was an abuse of trust. Only an immediate custodial sentence could be imposed, despite Gibson’s age and the fact he had been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, the judge said.
“Hubristic sex offenders in a position of authority must know that they will be sent to prison if they abuse children,” the judge said.
Rob Mochrie, defending, said the police first interviewed the victim before Gibson’s second trial in 2019, and he argued that these offences could have been added to that case.
But the judge said Gibson could have avoided this latest prosecution by admitting what he did to this person at either of his previous trials.
“This was a pattern of offending,” the judge said. “You committed offences against young men who you encountered during your role as vicar.”
The victim suffered psychological harm as a result of what happened to him more than 40 years ago, it caused problems in his relationship and he had undergone counselling, the court was told.
The judge told Gibson: “You were, of course, a highly esteemed member of the community. He was a teenager and considered himself, in his words, a nobody.”
A previous independent review by the church authorities into Gibson’s offending found that complaints about his behaviour were dismissed as “drunkenness” at the time. He was found to have been arrogant about his senior position in the Church of England, the review found.