CHURCH leaders and social services have been condemned for a ‘cover-up’ of a vicar’s sex attacks on a teenage girl in Sheffield.
John Yallop’s 16-year-old victim was sent to him for counselling after losing her mother, father and grandmother all within seven months in the late 1980s.
But the Burngreave vicar forced her to perform a sex act on him, and exposed himself to her in his own home and car over two months.
On two occasions, he groped the orphan at St Peter’s Church, Ellesmere - where he had conducted the funeral of her late mother.
Sheffield Crown Court heard the girl first made a complaint 26 years ago - and Yallop, now 65, admitted to a social worker then what had happened. But, rather than informing the police, social services met with church leaders - and it was decided the married father-of-two would resign. Police were never informed.
Sarah Wright, prosecuting, said: “He accepted responsibility. He said he wanted to ‘show her he loved her’.
“The victim feels she was never able to grieve for her family. She has suffered depression, had suicidal thoughts on many occasions, and it has affected her relationships with partners.
“In 2012 she saw a newspaper article where the defendant suggested he was about to foster and she felt she must make a formal complaint.”
Yallop, now of Blackburn, Lancashire, initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault three days into a trial.
Miss Wright added: “The defendant remembered a meeting with the Bishop of Sheffield where he said a complaint had been made, and he thought the best thing for him to do would be to resign.”
Jailing him for three years, Judge Simon Lawler QC told Yallop: “You unmercilessly abused her for your own sexual gratification. Now, there would have been an immediate complaint to police and the church would have taken swift action. Then, it was swept under the carpet.
“The church were more concerned what a formal complaint would do to its reputation. It was a cover-up.”