A RETIRED priest has been charged with 38 sexual offences against 18 children.

Canon Gordon Rideout, 73, of Filching Close, Wannock, Polegate, East Sussex has been on bail since his arrest on March 6, but was charged with the offences yesterday (June 27).

A total of 36 of the offences are of indecent assault alleged to have been committed on boys and girls in their early teens between 1962 and 1973.

One of those charges relates to an alleged offence which took place in Barkingside in the 1960s. The other charges relate to addresses in Crawley and Hampshire.

The other two alleged offences are of attempted unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl in Crawley between 1962 and 1966.

Rideout has been released on conditional police bail and is due to appear at Mid Sussex Magistrates Court on Monday 16 July.

A 24-hour NSPCC helpline for anyone who feels they need support is available.

Calls are handled confidentially and, where appropriate, callers are referred to specially trained police officers and local counselling services.

The helpline number is 0800 389 5344.

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