Former Bristol magistrate and church pastor faces sex abuse charges
A FORMER Bristol magistrate and church pastor has been charged with sexually abusing a teenage boy.
James Hennah is accused of three counts of illegal sexual touching between 2007 and 2010.
The 39-year-old, who was a prominent member of the Bristol Community Church in Kingswood, is also charged with watching his alleged victim, who was under 16, "doing a private act" without consent, for his own sexual gratification, in 2010.
He appeared at Exeter Magistrates' Court for the first time yesterday.
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Hennah, of Rossiters Lane, St George, was sworn in as a magistrate at Bristol Crown Court in October 2010, but resigned earlier this month.
A law graduate and accredited counsellor, he had been responsible for Bristol Community Church's youth ministry and worship team.
On an internet blog he posted in March 2009 he urged youngsters to remain "pure" when using facilities such as the internet.
Hennah also played a key role in a series of educational talks the church held for young people in 2008 called The Sex Factor, which had been "designed to bring some biblical teaching and input into these important issues".
Bristol Community Church, formerly known as Bristol New Covenant Church, formed in the early 1980s and is based at Bourne Chapel on Waters Road.
Justin Humphreys, of The Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service, confirmed Hennah had been the subject of "allegations of a safeguarding nature".
"We are also aware that he has been subsequently arrested, charged and is awaiting trial in relation to the alleged offences," he added.
"The trustees of Bristol Community Church are cooperating fully with the statutory authorities and are taking advice from our professional advisors, the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), such that a full and thorough investigation can be undertaken.
"We can also confirm that James Hennah was relieved of all duties within the church pending the outcome of the police and children's services investigations and has since resigned his position and is no longer an employee of the church."
Hennah entered no plea to the charges and was bailed until a further hearing in April.