A VICAR who abused his position of power to commit and get away with decades of sexual abuse has been described as a "monster" by one of his victims.

On Thursday, June 6, John Roberts was sentenced to three years in prison - in addition to his current nine-year sentence - following the historic abuse of a St Helens choirboy in the 1970s.

In a trial starting at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, May 28, a jury heard how Roberts was accused of touching a young boy's groin area above his clothing and "kissing him as you would embrace your partner" on multiple occasions.

The abuse is reported to have taken place in the church rectory, study, and lounge, as well as in Roberts' car and on a trip away, when the victim was aged between 10 and 13.

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Vicar 'used God to disguise the real monster that he is'

The abuse took place in the church grounds in the 1970sThe abuse took place in the church grounds in the 1970s (Image: Google Maps)
With the church playing a major role in the victim's family life, prosecutor Steven Ball explained that the psychological impact of the abuse has affected the victim throughout his life, and resulted in him receiving psychiatric treatment decades later.

It was also explained that the abuse severed the relationship that the victim had with his mother, as she refused to acknowledge the reality of the situation and failed to act on the information that her son told her.

With Roberts going on to sexually abuse at least three more boys and one man following the incidents in the 1970s, the victim described the former vicar as a "monster" who "has shown absolutely no remorse" to the people he has abused.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the St Helens victim said: "I've been driven by anger and disbelief that long after my abuse at the hands of John Roberts.

"He had continued to abuse others in the most despicable ways; one article in the press and after just a few minutes, I was ringing a police help line. The long journey to get here had begun.

“I wanted him to look inwardly at the face of the monster that he is and the widespread and the emotional damage that he has caused others.

"Regrettably instead, in his denials he has shown absolutely no remorse, no acknowledgment of what he is and no concern or compassion for those he has harmed. 

“For his entire career, he has peddled his lies with talk of sin, repentance and truth.

"I'm appalled that he has shown no intention of following his own guidance. From the pulpit, he has instructed his parishioners in how they should behave.

"Yet here in this court, he has used the words 'I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give will be the truth'.

"How dare he say this? What a cynical disregard of what that oath actually means? How dare he use his God to disguise the real monster that he truly is; monstrous acts on vulnerable helpless children over decades.

"I cope with it in a fashion, but I speak for those that didn't.”

Victim has shown 'immense courage' to come forward

John Roberts was described as a 'monster' by his victimJohn Roberts was described as a 'monster' by his victim (Image: Merseyside Police)
With Roberts, formerly of Cherry Vale in Liverpool, found guilty of all five counts of indecent assault against the St Helens choirboy, Judge Trevor-Jones sentenced the 89-year-old to a further three years in prison.

Speaking about the case, Detective Constable David Tweedle said: “The victim in this case has had to live with the pain and suffering Roberts inflicted on him for decades.

"That hurt will go on, but I hope the result provides them with some comfort.

“The victim trusted Roberts because of the position he held in the Church, and Roberts abused that trust in the most heinous way.

“The result in court will not undo the impact of Roberts’ actions, but I hope the victim and his family takes some sense of justice from it.

“He has shown immense courage to come forward and speak about the hurt Roberts caused and the problems he has faced since.

“I would like to pay tribute to that bravery and the dignity he has shown throughout the court process."

Sexual offence reports taken 'extremely seriously'

Roberts was sentenced to a further three years in jail following a trial at Liverpool Crown CourtRoberts was sentenced to a further three years in jail following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court (Image: St Helens Star)

DC Tweedle added: “I'd also like to thank officers and our partners in the Crown Prosecution Service for their efforts to pursue a further conviction against Roberts.

"Time should never be a barrier to obtaining justice and Merseyside Police takes every single report of sexual offences extremely seriously.

“I want to reassure any victims out there, whether they were abused recently or decades ago, they will be believed and action will be taken to bring their attacker to justice.

“We have dedicated officers trained to thoroughly investigate sexual assault allegations and make sure those reporting them are properly supported.

"I’d like to reassure anyone who has suffered a sexual offence that if you can find the courage to come forward and speak to us, we will deal with you sensitively and make sure reports are properly and thoroughly investigated."

Recent and historic sexual offences can be reported to the police at @MerPolCC on X, on Facebook at ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’.

Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form here.