Former Peterborough priest arrested over child porn images

13:59 15 January 2014

Father David Jennings.

Father David Jennings.

A former Peterborough priest has been arrested on suspicion of having indecent images of children.

Father David Jennings, who was awarded Freedom of the City of Peterborough in 2012 for services to the area, has withdrawn from active ministry.

Father Jennings, current parish priest of St Mary’s Church in Great Yarmouth, was arrested last week (Thursday 9) by Norfolk Police.

The Norwich-born Catholic Priest took over at the church in September having previously served at St Peter and All Souls Church in Peterborough which he left in June 2011.

He was the first Catholic Chaplain at HM Prison Peterborough when it opened in 2005 and also served at churches in Cambridge and Wymondham.

Since being arrested he has voluntarily withdrawn from active ministry and from his role as a primary school governor.

A statement released by the Diocese of East Anglia said: “The Revd Fr David Jennings, a priest of the Diocese of east Anglia, was arrested on January 9 with regard to allegations relating to safeguarding issues. He has been released on police bail and will report back to them in due course.

“Fr Jennings has voluntarily withdrawn from all active ministry and as a governor of S Mary’s Primary School, Gorleston, and as a member of the Safeguarding Commission for the Diocese with immediate effect.

“His withdrawal makes no judgement of guilt or innocence but is in accord with the safeguarding procedures of the Catholic Church of England and Wales.

“The Right Revd Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia, has affirmed that ‘the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people is of paramount importance to the Catholic Church and the Diocese is co-operating fully with the police in this ongoing investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in this matter’.”

The statement added: “At present it would not be appropriate to make any further comment.”

Norfolk Police said in a statement: “A 56-year-old man from Great Yarmouth has been arrested on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children.

“He has been released on police bail pending further inquiries.”

Father Jennings also has the role of priest member of the Diocesan Safeguarding Commission and the Coastal Clergy representative to the Commission for Dialogue and Unity.

During his time at Peterborough he was a leading light in setting up Churches Together, a vision to integrate diffferent faiths to work alongside each other. A speech given by Dr Clive Morton, OBE, chairman of Churches Together, at Father Jennings’ leaving event, said he carried out: “Valuable inter faith work, pursuing minority rights, the faith and Cohesion network.”

He was a leading light in discussing issues affecting the Peterborough community and drafted and negotiated the Peterborough Interfaith Statement prior to the EDL March in 2010.

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