Ex-chaplain to Queen jailed for sex assault on teenage churchgoer which left her suicidal and suffering nightmares
- Canon Dr Stephen Palmer, 68, jailed after sexually assaulting a teenager
- Said he’d help with religious education exams but assaulted her six times
- Offences took place in Stubbington, Hampshire, between 1975 and 1976
A former chaplain to the Queen was yesterday jailed for 39 months after sexually assaulting a young churchgoer.
Canon Dr Stephen Palmer, 68, had promised to help the 17-year-old girl with her religious education exams but assaulted her six times in his home.
He touched her as she sat on a ‘bench or pew’ at his home after his wife took his two young children to school.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the offences took place in Stubbington, Hampshire, between 1975 and 1976 and left his victim, now 57, suicidal and suffering ‘on-going nightmares’.
Canon Dr Stephen Palmer, 68, was yesterday jailed for 39 months after sexually assaulting a churchgoer
Palmer, who was in the Royal Navy, was given the title of Honorary Chaplain to the Queen in 2008 and retired from the post a year later.
An Honorary Chaplain to the Queen is a member of the clergy and is appointed to minister to the monarch of the United Kingdom.
The court heard Palmer, who had denied the victim had ever been to his home, would wait for his wife to leave the house and take their two young children to school before he would assault the young girl.
The victim wrote a statement, which was read out to the court by prosecutor, Tammy Mears.
It said: ‘What happened to me all those years ago has affected me greatly. What he did to me caused me to withdraw from the church.
‘I found it hard to trust anyone from the church and have never been able to return to church.
‘You think of people involved in the church as being caring and trustworthy, but this was not my experience.
‘I feel very sad that despite my strong beliefs, I was unable to practice my beliefs.
‘Stephen Palmer was a man of the church and someone people looked up to and trusted.
‘I couldn’t cope with what had happened. I have tried to commit suicide.
‘I have suffered from on-going nightmares over the years.’
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the offences took place in Stubbington, Hampshire, between 1975 and 1976
Sentencing him to 39 months, Recorder Nigel Lickley QC said of his victim: ‘She (the victim) came forward recently because she was encouraged by other people were coming forward in other cases and people were believing them.
‘The offending took place when your wife was away and there was a degree of planning. The victim withdrew from the church and her church life was very important to her, but the trust she had was destroyed by you.
‘This case demonstrates a breach of trust. She came to you for tuition and she was abused. Young people looked to you for guidance and support.’
He was convicted of six counts of indecent assault following a five-day trial at Portsmouth Crown Court in May.
And yesterday Palmer, of Fintry, Aberdeen, was jailed for three years and three months.
He became an ordained deacon in 1974 and an ordained priest a year later in 1975.
Palmer was also a vicar in Portsdown, Hants, from 1996 to 2002 and Newport on the Isle of Wight from 2002 to 2009.
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