Ex-priest in court charged with sexual offences

A RETIRED priest appeared in Chichester Crown Court today (December 14), charged with sexual offences against three teenage boys.

Robert Coles, 71, of Upperton Road, in Eastbourne, is charged with sexual offences against three teenage boys in West Sussex and elsewhere in the late 1970s and early 1990s.

He pleaded not guilty to three serious sexual offences on one of the boys then aged between 15 and 16 at a location in Chichester between 1982 and 1984, and was committed for trial at a crown court in Sussex yet to be notified, on June 10, 2013. He continues to be on court bail.

The prosecution is to consider by the end of January whether also to seek trial on four alleged offences of indecent assault - two against the victim referred to above, and one each against two other victims.

Coles has pleaded not guilty to all these offences as well.

He was arrested on March 6, and had been on conditional police bail since then and was charged in August this year on the authority of the South East Complex Case Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service following a year-long enquiry by Sussex Police detectives.

None of the charges relate to any allegations of recent or current offending and police emphasise that there is nothing to suggest that any children are currently at risk.