Reverend jailed for child sexual offences - Thatcham

05/04/2016

A man appeared at Winchester Crown Court today, Tuesday, 05 April 2016, and was jailed for 15 months for child sexual offences in Thatcham, West Berkshire.

Reverend Peter Jarvis, aged 51, of Clares Green Road, Spencers Wood, was sentenced after pleading guilty, during a re-trial at the same court in February this year, to two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity by a person in a position of trust, and one count of possession of indecent images of children.

In addition to the custodial sentence, Jarvis was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years and was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved sexual activity, between a vicar, who is now 51-years-old, and two schoolgirls, aged 14-15, between June 2008 and May 2012, in Thatcham, near Reading, Berkshire.

"Reverend Peter Jarvis abused his position of trust and took advantage of his status as a school counsellor to prey on vulnerable young girls, befriend them and sexually abuse them for his own sexual gratification.  Despite his pastoral responsibility towards them, he had an inappropriate sexual interest in them, encouraged them to participate in sexual acts with others while underage, met them after school and at weekends, allowed them to smoke and bought them gifts.  It is only due to the great courage of the victims that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed.  I would like to pay tribute to them for their strength and tenacity in coming forward.

"Jarvis denied any sexual wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct, but on 04 February 2016, at Winchester Crown Court, on the third day of his trial, he pleaded guilty to two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity by a person in a position of trust, and possession of indecent images of children.

"The convictions and today's sentence serve as an important message to people who have been the victim of crimes such as these, or those that know such crimes are being committed, that they should come forward and that time is no barrier to justice.  The CPS will work closely with partners, as we did with Thames Valley Police in this case, to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

"The emotional impact, on the victims and their families, of the abhorrent actions of this man is impossible to quantify.  I hope that the convictions and sentence give some small comfort to them.  Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Following today's sentence, investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Richard Jarvis of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit based in West Berkshire, said: "I am delighted that the hard work of our officers and staff has secured this conviction and sentence against Reverend Peter Jarvis.

"I would like to thank all staff and officers, who have worked on this investigation.  I am also grateful to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for bringing the case to court and agreeing to resurrect the case for a re-trial. Reverend Jarvis' conviction is the result of excellent partnership working between the police and the CPS.

"This case demonstrates that Thames Valley Police takes all reports of sexual offences seriously. If you have been a victim of such a crime, or believe you know someone who has then please contact the Force. The easiest way to do this is by visiting your local police station or by calling 101.

"Alternatively, if you do not want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court."