Ipswich: Congregation learns of charges against retired priest

CHURCHGOERS were asked to offer up prayers for all those involved in a court case in which a retired priest is accused of 12 sex assaults on a child and an adult.

Father Haley Dossor - who retired as priest-in-charge at St Mary at the Elms, in Elm Street, Ipswich, in November 2006 - also faces three further charges of gross indecency with a child.

The 71-year-old, of Kirton, near Felixstowe, is due to appear before Ipswich magistrates for the first hearing of his case next Monday.

The allegations against Dossor - a former southern area chaplain to Suffolk Constabulary - are said to relate to the period between 1990 and 2004, and involve more than one alleged victim.

Before yesterday’s morning service at St Mary at the Elms members of the church ushered worshippers to the side and told The Star’s reporter that no one would be commenting on the story.

A spokesman for the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese said: “Father Stephen Raine, priest at St Mary the Elms, asked worshippers to pray for everyone involved.

“He asked people to make this their personal prayer at Mass this Sunday. Worshippers were advised not to comment, at this stage, because legal proceedings are active. A court case is starting very shortly in just nine days in Ipswich.

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“Haley Dossor currently has no active role within the diocese as a retired clergyman, and it is good practice that we await the outcome of the court proceedings before making any further comment.”.

When approached about the charges Dossor said he did not wish to make any comment.

The former priest resigned from his trustee post with the Ipswich Umbrella Trust before Christmas, having taken on the role in 2005.

Dossor originally worked in the silk manufacturing industry before being ordained later in life.

His first parish was Shelley, near Hadleigh, where he formed part of a team ministry from 1990-2001, before moving to St Mary at the Elms.

During his time in Ipswich, Dosser used his industrial background to build strong links with the business community and established two popular events in the town.

The Christmas carol service and a business harvest service, both of which were attended by hundreds of businessmen and women.