Ex-Bishop convicted of sexual assaults
A former Bishop from the Catholic Church has today been sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting two women.
A jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that an investigation was launched by the church following a complaint made by the victim’s family after she had informed them that Michael Ward had sexually assaulted her in 2015 outside Hawkesyard Priory and then in 2016 at the victim’s home.
In 2017, whilst on bail the defendant sexually assaulted a second woman at her home in London.
The 71-year-old defendant denied the allegations. However, the church excommunicated Ward and referred the matter to the police.
Ward was arrested and later found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.
The defendant was also ordered to pay £300 to one victim and £600 to the other. Ward has been put onto the sex offenders register for 10 years.
Julia Mcsorley, with the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Michael Ward targeted two vulnerable women for his own sexual gratification.
“He denied any form of sexual assaults and claimed that they were merely a misunderstanding. However, the evidence from the victims was essential in helping us to prove that these were in fact deliberate acts which Ward had carried out on them and today he has been found guilty of those criminal actions.
“I would like to thank the victims for their support and courage in helping is to secure this conviction today.”
Notes to editors
- Julia Mcsorley is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with the West Midlands CPS Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit
- Michael Ward DOB is 10/12/1946