An 85-year-old former Catholic priest from Bedford has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting three men.
After a series of trials at Luton Crown Court, Father Patrick Bailey, who was in charge of the Holy Child and St Joseph Catholic church in Midland Road for many years. was cleared by three separate juries.
A judge had ruled that Father Bailey, who now lives in a nursing home in Aylesbury, should be tried separately for each complaint. The verdicts could not be reported until now.
Today/Thursday a jury of 9 men and 3 women cleared him of two charges of sexual assault against a man who had visited him at St Columba Church in Chesham, where he was the priest between 2002 until 2016.
The offences were alleged to have taken place in December 2012 and February 2013.
In the witness box Father Bailey said he definitely did not touch the man sexually.
He said the man had hugged him because he had helped him.
Isabel Delamere, prosecuting, asked him: “Did your hand go into his trousers accidentally?” He replied:“It didn’t go into his trousers.”
Character witness Richard Kolka, 62, the organist at the church, said: “I got to know Father Bailey pretty well. He was the parish priest. I worked very closely with him in the running of the parish.
“I formed a very high opinion of him and the sort of person he was.
“He is a quiet, calm, unassuming, yet very authoritative person. He is very down to earth but inspiring. He is very generous and very compassionate and highly intelligent.”
Father Bailey, the former director of education for the Northampton diocese, was in charge of the Holy Child and St Joseph Catholic church in Midland Road for many years until 2002.
He was cleared of charges of indecent assault relating to two men at earlier trials that could not have been reported until now.They were alleged to have taken place between November 1989 and October 2001.
Father Bailey was also once the Director for Education for the Northampton Diocese.