Gordon Rideout – Verisona Solicitors instructed to represent

Verisona have been instructed to represent an individual who alleges that they were sexually assaulted by Gordon Rideout.

We seek to speak to others who may be able to assist in our enquiries.

Canon Rideout has received a jail sentence of 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 majority of the 36 charges related to offences carried out at the now-demolished Barnardo’s children’s home Ifield Hall in Crawley when Canon Rideout was an assistant curate at nearby St. Mary’s Church, Southgate. The jury heard how many of Canon Rideout’s victims were too afraid to report his behaviour for fear of being beaten and, even if they had, a child’s word was not likely to be believed.

Rideout, now 74, was also convicted of four charges of indecent assault on two girls at the Middle Wallop army base where he was a Padre at the site’s St Michael's Church.

Despite a court martial in 1972 and police investigation in 2001, he continued to be employed by the Church. He was Chaplain at Moira House School in Eastbourne until 2003, Chairman of Governors at St Mary's Special School in Bexhill until 2009 and at Bishop Bell C of E School in Eastbourne until November 2011.

Nigel Pilkington, Head of the CPS South East Complex Casework Unit, said: ‘As an assistant curate and then chaplain, Gordon Rideout was in a position of trust which he systemically abused, indecently assaulting the vulnerable youngsters that he met over a number of years. He was able to wander through Ifield Hall and the gardens, even visiting children when they were sick and alone in bed. One victim recalled how the children would hide under their covers when he came into their dormitories.’

Charles Derham, Specialist Child Abuse Solicitor for legal firm Verisona, comments ‘Canon Rideout is one of several priests to whose alleged misdeeds the Church of England has turned a blind eye over the years and it should no longer shun its accountability to the victims.’

‘Considering the number of establishments he worked for, it is likely that many more victims have yet to come forward. None of us can begin to imagine the impact that this has had on their lives and it is right victims should be entitled to compensation for the physical and mental injury inflicted upon them.’

‘Rideout’s catalogue of abuse was closely connected to his position of trust as a Canon for the Church of England. This gave him the opportunity to abuse, which is likely to make it fair and just to impose liability on the Archdiocese, which would have exercised control and provided duties, making the relationship akin to an employment contract.’

‘Further culpability may lie with other organisations responsible; the management of Ifield Hall, schools where Canon Rideout was permitted access to vulnerable children and the local authorities in their general duties of care towards children in their areas.’

‘The findings of the investigations carried out by local authorities, police and military over the years, as well as any records available about complaints, need to be carefully considered in order to unravel how this man could have been left in a position to abuse for such a long period of time.’

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

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."

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