Ifield Hall, Crawley, West Sussex (Barnardos)
Gordon Rideout’s bid for release from jail on compassionate grounds refused 28/02/14
Priest who sexually abused kids at children’s home bids for early release from prison
A FORMER priest jailed for ten years for historic sexual abuse at an Ifield children’s home is reported to have applied for an early release from prison on compassionate grounds, because of ill health.
Gordon Rideout abused boys and girls as young as five at Ifield Hall, a Barnado’s children’s home which has since been demolished.
It was during his time as assistant curate at St Mary’s Church, in Southgate, between 1962 and 1965, that he would visit the home and carry out the abuse.
It is understood Rideout, 74, was released from prison to go to hospital on a temporary licence.
He was returned to jail but is believed to have then applied to be released permanently.
Sex abuse priest Gordon Rideout jailed for 10 years
An Anglican priest who abused children in the 1960s and 70s has been jailed for 10 years.
Canon Gordon Rideout, 74, from East Sussex, who is now retired, was found guilty of 36 separate sex offences by a jury at Lewes Crown Court.
The attacks took place between 1962 and 1973 in Hampshire and Sussex.
Most of them were carried out at Ifield Hall children’s home in Crawley, when he was an assistant curate. The charges related to 16 different children.
Rideout, from Polegate, had denied 34 indecent assaults and two attempted rapes.
He was acquitted of one charge of indecent assault against a five-year-old child.
‘Position of trust’
Rideout was the assistant curate at St Mary’s Church in Southgate, Crawley, from September 1962 to September 1965.
During that time he regularly visited the Barnardo’s children’s home, Ifield Hall, which has since been demolished.
The majority of the offences took place there, although he was also convicted of four charges of indecent assault on two girls at the Middle Wallop army base, where he was a padre at St Michael’s Church on the site.
In 1972 he was accused of three indecent assaults at the base, but was cleared by a military hearing.
He was also the subject of a police investigation in 2001.
Nigel Pilkington, head of the CPS South East complex casework unit, said: “As an assistant curate and then chaplain, Gordon Rideout was in a position of trust which he systemically abused, indecently assaulting the vulnerable youngsters that he met over a number of years.
“He was able to wander through Ifield Hall and the gardens, even visiting children when they were sick and alone in bed.
“One victim recalled how the children would hide under their covers when he came into their dormitories.”
Mr Pilkington said a number of his victims attempted to speak out about the abuse, but were subjected to “brutal beatings” when they did.
“Some of his victims told police in interviews that it simply ‘wasn’t worth complaining’ because of the punishment they would receive in return,” he said.
“Instead the victims hid what happened to them for many years and none of us can begin to imagine the impact that has had on their lives.”
Barnardo’s director of children’s services, Sam Monaghan, said: “We are extremely saddened by this case and our deepest sympathies go out to those who have suffered; it has taken great courage for them to step forward and relive their experiences.
“We are glad that justice has been served and believe it is critical that abusers are held to account for their crimes, regardless of when they took place.”