A former parish reverend and youth club leader has been jailed for indecent assault against three young boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
On Friday, 15 January, Stephen Hardwicke, 63 (01.02.57) of Church Road, Uxbridge was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Harrow Crown Court for five counts of indecent assault against two victims under the Sexual Offences Act 1956.
He was found guilty of the historic abuse on 25 November 2020 after a nine-day trial at the same court.
The offences were against three boys aged between 10 and 18 years old. The initial allegation of abuse was reported to police in October 2015. Further enquiries led to police making contact with a further victim in 2017.
The offences took place from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s when Hardwicke was a leader at a youth group attached to Stanmore Baptist Church.
Officers from Edgware Child Abuse Investigation Team investigated the allegations and on 26 June 2018 Hardwicke was charged on suspicion of sexual assault.
Detective Constable Nicola Cameron, the investigating officer from the Edgware Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Hardwicke took advantage of his young victims’ vulnerability, sexually abusing them on numerous occasions when the opportunities presented themselves. I would like to praise the victims’ courage in reporting what happened to them to police.
“A crime committed over 30 years ago is still a crime. While investigations into non-recent sexual offences can be challenging, we have specially trained officers who will follow up all lines of inquiry, and seek to prosecute when the evidence will support it.”
For more information about support services available to sexual offence victims, visit www.met.police.uk/advice.