Catholic priest charged with indecently assaulting child

A leading member of the Catholic church in Solihull has been charged with indecently assaulting a child.

Father Ted Simpson, a former school governor and priest at Olton Friary will appear at Birmingham Crown Court on 21st May when he is due to enter a plea. He is currently on police bail.

The 84-year-old was arrested 14 months ago on suspicion of sexual activity with a minor. He was charged with indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14 on 15th January and initially appeared before city magistrates 14 days later.

In the past, the cleric has enjoyed close links with Olton voluntary-aided catholic primary school, Our Lady of Compassion. He no longer has any association with the school, a spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

At the time of the priest’s arrest, the school website stated: “We are most fortunate to have the wise counsel and constant support of Father Ted Simpson who regularly comes in to say mass and is a long-standing member of the governing body.”

Yesterday a staff member at Olton Friary said she could not comment on whether Father Simpson was still associated with the building, which has the full title of The Church of the Holy Ghost and Mary Immaculate.

Olton Friary was built by Fransiscan Friars in 1929. The church was badly damaged by a fire in July, 1970, but re-opened 15 months later.

The friars left in January 1981, and the Sacred Heart Fathers and Brothers of Betharram took over the running of the parish, with Father Simpson as parish priest.

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