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.

Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Her extensive knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules, skills in evidence gathering and analysis of liability and causation, and experience in risk assessment and settlement negotiation make her a valuable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

She is also a member of Verisona Law’s Historic Abuse Team and undertakes documentary analysis, work relating to case evidence and the development of legal arguments to secure successful settlements. She is fluent in German and Persian.

Lisa also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law.

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Lisa studied ‘Contract Law, European Law and Employment Law’ as part of her degree in BA (Hons) Business Administration. She has also studied other business subjects, including accounting.

Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

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