“I REALLY thought there would be a sorry from all of this.” These are the words from the woman who was indecently assaulted by a pastor when she was just a teenager, almost 30 years ago.
The churchman she trusted, Malcolm Hoare, 68, of Whitefriars Road, Lynn, was sent to prison for two years at Norwich Crown Court on Friday.
He was found guilty of five offences of indecent assault over a two-and-a-half-year period.
As well as two years in jail, Hoare, a former pastor with the Lynn Baptist Fellowship, was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.
Speaking after the hearing, the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “The sentence was really good. Up until now I felt everything was going in his favour, for good character and age.
“As hard as it was to go through the trial it was reassuring that the judge recognised I remained calm and didn’t become vindictive.”
Hoare had denied 12 counts of sexual offences against the girl, when he was aged 38.
He was acquitted of a further three offences and the jury failed to reach a verdict on four.
The 68-year-old was found guilty of committing indecent assault when the victim when was aged from 13 to 15.
The allegations came to light after she received counselling.
Giving evidence during the trial, the victim said she had decided to come forward to try to give herself “closure” on what had happened and to make sure nothing like this happened to anyone else.
She said: “I have fought for myself all the way through. I was not interested in him getting a lengthy sentence. I would have been satisfied with one year. It was important for me that he went on the sex offenders’ register.
“I have made a good life for myself but it felt like a huge weight had lifted when I heard the verdict.”
The victim added: “I’m a much stronger person now and a lot more positive. I had never thought of doing anything about it before – I had a happy life and a family.
“It came out through my work. Up until that time I had not realised how serious it was. It has been quite hard. I still don’t think his family believe me.
“I’m still a Christian, although I don’t attend church. I believe he will face God for the things he has said on oath.
“It has had an impact on my family. Now we can stop talking about this. It is the absolute end for me. I don’t regret anything and I moved on. I’m so glad I did it.
“I did want to see him face to face. I naively though there would be a sorry through all of this. The trial was absolute hell and a lot of the time I was sitting there in tears.
“His family hold him in such high self-esteem he would have done anything to stay up there.
“Apart from me and him nobody really knows what went on. I was enveloped in this church cult.
“My main reason for speaking about it was to encourage other victims to come forward.
“If you are a young person ChildLine is the best way to go about it, if you have got no-one to go to. Just tell someone you trust. Definitely don’t hide it.”
During the sentencing William Carter, mitigating, told the court: “By and large, his life has been spent for good.”
He also highlighted Hoare’s prison and chaplaincy work, as well as his work for the homeless.
Judge Philip Curl acknowledged this, but said during the trial, from Hoare’s evidence, he had formed the impression of a “manipulative and egocentric man”.
He said: “The victim has obviously suffered significantly and has confronted the trauma with dignity and courage and a notable lack of vindictiveness. An immediate custodial sentence is essential.”
Judge Curl added Hoare had committedwhat amounted to a “serious abuse of trust”.