A Roman Catholic priest in Salisbury has been ordered by Andover magistrates to attend a three-year sex offenders' rehabilitation programme.

Barnaby Dowling, 46, pleaded guilty to downloading and distributing child pornography using computer equipment at his home in Exeter Street.

A spokesman for Clifton Diocese said it regarded offences against children and young people "very seriously."

Dowling remains on leave while the diocese considers his future.

'Thoughts and prayers'

In a statement the diocese, added: "The diocesan authorities acknowledge the wide-ranging impact and pain that this conviction is having on the Catholic community and the wider community in which we live.

"In particular we are very concerned for parishioners in Salisbury whom we hold in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time."

In June, the 46-year-old admitted four counts of making indecent images of children, three counts of distributing, and a single charge of possessing indecent images of children.

Dowling was arrested earlier this year in connection with an inquiry by Devon and Cornwall Police into the distribution of indecent images

 

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