David Roberts
David Roberts was the vicar at the Parish Church of Saint John the Evangelist church (Avon and Somerset Police/Wiki Commons)

A former vicar has been jailed for 12 years for abusing a teenage boy more than 20 years ago.

David Roberts, who served as a vicar in Taunton, was arrested in March after a man made allegations against him relating to an offences committed in the 1980s.

At the time of the offence, the victim was 13 years old. Roberts, 68, admitted two charges of indecent assault and three more serious sex offences.

He had served as the vicar at St John the Evangelist Church.

The attacks took place between 1985 and 1988. After the sentencing, DC Andrew Daw said: "This was an extremely sensitive investigation that has resulted in Roberts being jailed for a significant amount of time.

"This sentence is down to the courage and bravery of the victim to come forward and tell us about the abuse he suffered at the hands of Roberts.

"He was in a position of trust as a vicar and he abused that position, sexually abusing a vulnerable boy.

Abuse of trust

"I would encourage any victim of rape or sexual assault to come forward and contact us. We take every allegation seriously, past or present, and will investigate thoroughly."

As well as the 12-year sentence, the judge at Taunton crown court disqualified Roberts from working with children, placed him on the Sexual Offenders Register and made him the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Judge Graham Hume Jones told Roberts: "You were in a position of trust ... you abused that trust."

The court was told of how the abuse took place when Roberts was in his 40s. Prosecuting, William Hunter said: "He [Roberts] would allow the boy to smoke in his company. The victim thought of him as cool. He was like a father figure."

Abuse began when Roberts started paying the boy £5 to let him kiss him but the offences quickly escalated.

The judge concluded: "You clearly groomed him by allowing him to smoke and drink alcohol.

"At the time of these offences you were a mature man. I have read the victim's impact statement and in that it can be seen the effect that your conduct has had on him over the years."