A retired Methodist minister will be jailed after he was convicted of using hypnosis on four boys in the 1970s and 1980s and then sexually abusing them.
John Price, 82, of Ash Tree Close, Bedale, North Yorkshire, was found guilty of 13 counts of indecent assault following a trial at Teesside Crown Court. The minister was prevented from using his title Reverend after he was convicted of a similar offence in 1999.
Judge Howard Crowson adjourned sentence for four weeks to hear from the defendant’s GP about his health and how prison will impact on him. But the judge remanded him in custody ahead of sentence, saying jail was inevitable and the medical evidence may only affect the length of the prison term, if it did at all.
Price, a widower who walks with a white stick and is cared for by his daughter, kept his head bowed as the jury foreman returned the 13 guilty verdicts.
He fashioned ways of being alone with the boys, who were aged between 11 and 17, then he indecently assaulted them. He claimed he could help them with stress, physical or emotional pain and used a cloak or blanket in the hypnosis technique.
Attacks happened at his manse, in the vestry or at the boys’ homes when he was a minister in York and Pocklington.
None of the victims said they were actually hypnotised but they froze in surprise and horror at what the respected church leader was doing, the jury heard.
Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said Price used hypnosis believing the boys would not remember what happened to them while in a trance. When one of the victims complained to a senior church figure, who has since died, he was told not to be “silly” and the matter was brushed aside.
Price told the jury he could only vaguely remember the complainants and said he did not molest any of them, saying he had done nothing for which he should feel ashamed.
He will be sentenced on June 13.
Read more at: http://www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/news/regional/ex-methodist-minister-who-used-hypnosis-on-boys-facing-jail-for-abuse-1-8546313