David Leslie Crowley, a 69-year-old former priest, has been handed a prison sentence totalling eight and a half years for his involvement in a series of child abuse cases. Crowley, currently incarcerated at HMP Full Sutton, had previously pleaded guilty to nine counts of indecent assault and six counts of indecency with a child. The offences took place between 1982 and 1984 and between 1991 and 1995 in Settle, Huddersfield, and Bradford, and involved five different young boys.

Crowley, who is already serving a custodial sentence for similar offences, was interviewed in connection with the recent charges while in prison in August 2021. His sentencing was carried out at Leeds Crown Court on Monday, June 19, 2023. The court handed him a prison term of seven years and six months, along with a one-year extended sentence that will be served once his present sentence concludes.

Detective Inspector Oliver Coates, from the Kirklees Child Safeguarding Unit of West Yorkshire Police, expressed satisfaction with the verdict, stating, “This conviction follows a lengthy and comprehensive investigation by DC Moorhouse into the West Yorkshire offences. It ensures that this dangerous man will remain behind bars where he belongs.”

Coates continued, “These offences were reported to the police many years after they occurred, and I hope the work that has been done to bring Crowley to justice shows that we will investigate historic offending. I would urge anyone who has been the victim of sexual offences, whether recent or non-recent, to report it. By doing so, we can ensure that you are supported and get the justice you deserve.”

DC Suzanne Hall, a member of North Yorkshire Police’s Non-Recent Abuse Investigation Team, praised the bravery of the victims and emphasised that reporting non-recent sexual abuse is always encouraged. She stated, “Crowley’s appalling offences were committed decades ago – but the passage of time cannot ease the pain and anguish suffered by the victims.”

Hall added, “I want to praise the courage of the victims in this case, and I hope today’s result provides some comfort to them. This case proves that it is never too late to come forward to report non-recent sexual abuse. The Non-Recent Abuse Investigation Team at North Yorkshire Police is equipped to support victims at every stage – they will be treated with dignity, sensitivity, and respect throughout.”

The sentencing of David Leslie Crowley sends a strong message that historical sexual abuse cases will be pursued and justice will be served. It also serves as a reminder for victims, both recent and non-recent, to come forward and report such offences to ensure their voices are heard and their rights are protected.