A CATHOLIC priest who admitted five counts of indecently assaulting young boys was warned yesterday he could face jail.
Fr David Taylor, 59, of Northumberland Avenue, Bedlington, Northumberland, was the youth co-ordinator for the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese, stretching from Berwick in the north to the Tees in the south, when he committed the offences.
He appeared before Durham Crown Court yesterday to admit the offences on three males under 16, which all took place between 1982 and 1986.
It is understood some of the offences took place on pastoral visits to Holy Island in Northumberland run by Taylor. At the time Taylor was youth co-ordinator for the diocese, based at St Mary’s Church, Seaham, County Durham, where he served between 1981 and 1989.
Judge Peter Bowers granted Taylor unconditional bail to appear back before the court during the first week of May, but warned him "not to read anything into the granting of bail" before sentencing. Taylor’s last post was at St Peter’s Church in Kells Lane, Low Fell, Gateshead, from which he was suspended 14 months ago.
At the time Father Dennis Tindall, child protection co-ordinator for the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese, said: "Fr David Taylor was asked to stand down from his post of parish priest of St Peter’s, Low Fell, and placed on administrative leave on February 22, as a result of information received by the church authorities regarding child protection matters."
Last night Fr Tindall said: "The highest standards are required and expected of those working with young people in the Church.
"No exceptions can be made to this. It is tragic therefore when a position of great trust leads to behaviour which harms vulnerable individuals. This is never acceptable and we cooperate fully with the statutory authorities throughout.
"The Catholic Church has worked hard and consistently over the last 15 years to establish clear, respectful and obligatory procedures to ensure that those in our care are safe. Historic cases like this serve to emphasise further the all-time need for the greatest vigilance and sensitivity in all we do. The emotional and other consequences of the harm done by a priest who has also accomplished so much that is good, calls for great care and support in our community and beyond."
Taylor was ordained in 1977 and his first appointment was at St Anthony’s, Walker, where he remained until 1981. From there he went to St Mary’s, Seaham. From 1989 to 1991 he was at St Joseph’s, Sunderland, followed by a post at St John’s, Billingham, Teesside. He became parish priest at Low Fell, in 2002.