A former Catholic priest who regularly rubbed himself against an altar boy while he was changing his robes has walked free from court.
Malcolm McLennan, 69, targeted the victim at his church – groping and putting his hands in the his pants between 1987 and 1989.
But when the victim raised the abuse with a dicoses bishop at the time, the high-ranking clergyman dismissed it by saying: “We’ll have no more of your silly talk.”
The victim later reported the attacks to police in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and McLennan was arrested and charged.
He admitted one charge of indecent assault at Magistrate’s Court last month and was sent to Maidstone Crown Court for sentence.
Sentencing the former priest to a three-year community order Judge Jeremy Carey said not sending McLennan to prison was a “constructive alternative”.
He added that, given McLennan’s previous time in jail for “strikingly similar sexual offences”, he could only have handed out another few months at most.
The judge said: “You have been punished as a sex offender.
“You have not committed further sexual offences for many years and I accept you have been leading a non-criminal life of a positive kind.”
McLennan’s barrister Andrew Espley said that he had turned his life around, and now works as an infirmary assistant caring for ill monks, and has no contact with children.
McLennan worked as an assistant priest in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in the 1980s, and has previously been handed an 18-month prison sentence for indecent assaults on boys as young as five.
The pervert is already on the sex offenders’ register, and was ordered to attend a sex offenders’ rehabilitation course.
But McLennan’s victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, slammed the judge’s “leniency” and said he had been “emotionally abandoned”.
He man, who is now in his 30s, said: “I wanted to see him go down, to see him blubbing. Even if it was just for one month.
“Now all I have is a grudge, a grudge against everyone – the police, the court, the judge, the system.”
“I could easily have snapped in court, but I thought of my children.
“I went through the correct motions. Now I regret it. I wish I had not bothered.”
After McLennan’s first appearance in court for this charge, Archbishop of Southwark Peter Smith said: “The Archdiocese greatly regrets the suffering that has been caused to those affected by Malcolm McLennan’s behaviour.
“The Archdiocese has co-operated fully with the police since the first allegation was received in December 2006.”