A CHURCH of England vicar has been convicted by a jury of sexually abusing a boy when he was a head teacher in Bradford.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, warned David Fletcher he will “almost inevitably go into custody” for indecently assaulting the child in the late 1980s.

Fletcher, 63, whose ministry includes 12 churches in East Yorkshire, was found guilty of two of the eight charges against him by a majority verdict of 11-1.

The jury at Bradford Crown Court cleared him of six further allegations of indecent assault made by the same complainant.

He was bailed to return to the court for sentence on Monday, March 6.

Judge Thomas ordered Fletcher to sign on the sex offenders’ register with immediate effect. A Sexual Harm Prevention Order will be made at the next hearing.

The judge said that although the sentence remained open to debate, similar offending by older men against young boys usually led to imprisonment.

Rodney Ferm, defence barrister, did not request a report from the probation service.

During the week-long trial, the jury heard that Fletcher’s victim looked on him as a father figure and wanted to be part of his family.

Fletcher, of Pulham Lane, Wetwang, Driffield, was then living at Queensbury and at an address near Halifax.

He was deputy head at St Oswald’s Church of England Primary School in Little Horton, Bradford, before becoming head of St Barnabas School in Heaton.

The complainant, now a married man, told the court Fletcher repeatedly thrust his body at him and “snogged” him.

He said he was abused while helping Fletcher tend the goats at his smallholding at Queensbury.

The man said he had looked on Fletcher as a father figure because his own dad was not around.

“I respected him and wanted to be loved as part of a family,” he stated.

He said of Fletcher: “He used to kiss me like a girl.”

The court heard that Fletcher changed career paths in 2001 when he was ordained into the Church of England priesthood.

The complainant also accused Graham Doyle, a former vicar at St Oswald’s Church, Little Horton, of sexually abusing him, but he was not before the court.

“The Rev Doyle is out of the jurisdiction, beyond our shores. He is not being prosecuted,” Prosecutor Ian Howard said.

The court heard that Mr Doyle, an Australian, was believed to be in Southern Ireland.

The man alleged that Mr Doyle would watch him shower and sexually abused him when he was 12 or 13.

“Psychologically, I am in a mess because of them,” he said.

The Venerable Andy Broom, Archdeacon of the East Riding of Yorkshire, told the court Fletcher disclosed to him at a private meeting in November, 2014, that the man had made allegations against him on Facebook.

The following month, Flecther had to “step back” from ministry activity involving children because the police were now involved.

He had not worked at all after he was charged with the offences, the court was told.

Speaking after the case, an NSPCC spokesperson said: “Fletcher abused a position of trust during a long campaign of horrifying abuse.

“He shamelessly took advantage of his vulnerable victim, who has shown tremendous courage in reliving his experiences in court.

“It’s important that he receives all possible support to help him rebuild his life.

“Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline in confidence, 24 hours a day seven days a week, on 0800 808 5000 or via. Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk