Vicar Richard Lee admits filming naked woman and girls with hidden camera
A VICAR has admitted using a hidden camera to secretly film a naked woman and three girls.
The Rev Richard Lee, who officiated at St Augustine's Church in Locking and St Mary's Church in Hutton, near Weston-super-Mare, admitted eight charges of voyeurism and 18 charges of making indecent photographs of a child when he appeared before North Somerset Magistrates today.
He is now facing a possible prison term after the magistrates decided they did not have the powers to impose an adequate sentence - and ordered him to face a judge at Bristol Crown Court next month.
The court heard that when police raided the vicarage at The Green, Locking, on July 20 last year they found numerous computers and hard drives in the loft.
On them they found two pictures and a video clip of children being sexually abused by adults, along with more than 400 other indecent pictures and 84 indecent movies of children.
The 49-year-old was arrested at his mother’s home in Cornwall the following day and admitted visiting websites where indecent images of children were posted.
He was immediately suspended from his duties by the Diocese of Bath and Wells.
The court heard that the offences stretched over a period of more than 12 years, between January 2000 and July 2012.
Andrea Edwards, prosecuting, said: “He had not shared any of the video or images with any other person.
“He had it all for his own sexual gratification.”
Lee, who spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and enter the guilty pleas, was bailed to an address in Bodmin, Cornwall.
He was told that before he is sentenced he must not contact witnesses or enter North Somerset.
He is also not allowed any unsupervised access to children under 16 and is not allowed to attend any family church services.
Lee moved to North Somerset from Gillingham in Kent in January 2007. He had previously worked at a church in North London.
A spokesperson from the Diocese of Bath and Wells said: “Rev Richard Lee appeared in North Somerset Magistrates Court this morning charged with 26 sexual offences.
“He pleaded guilty to all counts and will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on March 4 2013.
“We have nothing further to add whilst legal proceedings continue.”