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Former chaplain at Norwich City Football Club who officiated Frank Bruno’s wedding in court on child sex charges

16:26 04 September 2013

Father Tony McSweeney.

Father Tony McSweeney.

A former chaplain at Norwich City Football Club appeared in court today with the former manager of a children’s home accused of sexually abusing boys in the 1980s.

Father Tony McSweeney, 66, and John Stingemore, 71, allegedly molested children as young as nine from the now closed Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London.

They are accused of abusing the children between 1980 and 1981 while Stingemore was in charge of the council-run home and McSweeney was a local trainee priest.

McSweeney, who officiated at the 1990 wedding of boxer Frank Bruno and his former wife Laura, and was once the part-time chaplain at Norwich City, is facing three counts of indecent assault on young boys.

He was the priest at St George’s Church in the north of Norwich but has relocated to West Sussex since the charges came to light,

He is also accused of a series of child porn offences, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

Stingemore has been charged with eight counts of indecent assault, two of taking indecent images of a child and one count of conspiracy to commit buggery.

Overweight McSweeney needed a walking stick to enter the dock.

“It is an extremely serious matter”, said prosecutor Zahid Hussain.

“The allegations are historic in nature, and the offences are said to have been committed during the 1980s in a children’s care home.”

The charges relate to seven victims, aged between nine and 15 when the offences took place.

Simon Nicholls, for McSweeney, said the priest has been relocated by the church during criminal proceedings.

“He is being looked after”, he told the court.

“He is a priest, not an active priest, but there is a duty of care. They look after their priests.”

Both men were released on bail to appear at Southwark Crown Court on September 18.

McSweeney is banned from using the internet under his bail conditions. The pair are not allowed to contact each other or have unsupervised access to children under 16.

McSweeney, of Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, West Sussex, is charged with three counts of indecent assault, three of making indecent images of a child, one count of taking indecent images of a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child.

Stingemore, of Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, is accused of eight counts of indecent assault, two of taking indecent images of a child and one count of conspiracy to commit buggery.

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