Disgraced clergyman Canon Gordon Rideout was a serial sex offender

Rideout, now 74, was jailed for 10 years at Lewes Crown Court after being convicted of two attempted rapes and 34 indecent assaults on 16 boys and girls in Hampshire and Sussex in the 1960s and 1970s. The jury heard many of his victims were too afraid to report his behaviour for fear of being beaten. And he was one of several priests to whose alleged misdeeds the Church of England turned a blind eye. In the 1970s he got as far as court but was cleared by a military hearing of allegations of indecent assault relating to his time as forces chaplain at St Michael's Church on a military base in Middle Wallop, Hampshire. And during his trial in Lewes, the prosecution said the reason the child victims did not make complaints at the time of the offences was that "a child's word was not believed". Philip Bennetts QC said: "Indeed, on the occasion that a young child was brave enough to complain, you'll hear that they were beaten." During the trial Rideout's defence team suggested victims had lied and were motivated by compensation or revenge, or that they had got the wrong person. The majority of the 36 charges, which cover a period between between 1962 and 1973, relate to offences at the now-demolished Barnardo's children's home, Ifield Hall, in Crawley, when he was an assistant curate at nearby St Mary's Church, Southgate. Church 'arrogance' But even after the court martial in 1972 and a police investigation into Rideout in 2001, he continued to be employed by the hurch. Rideout was cleared of three indecent assaults by a court martial in 1972 He was chaplain at Moira House School, Eastbourne, until 2003, chairman of governors at St Mary's special school in Bexhill until 2009 and at Bishop Bell of CE School in Eastbourne until November 2011. Matt Dunkley, director of children's services at East Sussex Dounty Council, told the BBC: "It was a significant amount of arrogance on behalf of some members of the Church of England - almost that these things couldn't be true about someone of standing in the Church." Yet when police started reinvestigating the complaints in 2011 and 2012, the lid was lifted on a catalogue of child abuse by a man in a position of trust. The police investigation followed a confidential review by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss into historical allegations of sexual abuse by hurch of England priests against young people in Sussex and elsewhere. As well as offences at Ifield Hall, Rideout also abused children in Middle Wallop. We understand that it is not unusual for those who were subject to abuse to come forward later in life. If you or somebody you know were subject to abuse please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

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