Custom House vicar arrested in child sex abuse probe

A vicar has been arrested by police probing allegations of historical child sex abuse.

The Rev Chris Hanson, 63, who preaches at Ascension Church in Custom House, was quizzed by detectives last week. He has since been suspended “without prejudice” from his Church of England duties by the Diocese of Chelmsford.

Members of the congregation at the church in Baxter Road have been shocked by the news.

Police have not released full details of the allegations MrHanson faces, but it is understood they do not relate to his time at Ascension Church. He was arrested at his home in Broadgate Road, Beckton, last week and has been released on police bail until June 29.

A police spokesman confirmed: “A 63-year-old man from east London has been arrested on suspicion of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity as part of an investigation being carried out by Thames Valley Police.


“The man was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, who were acting on behalf of Thames Valley Police.

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“An investigation was launched following an allegation of an historic offence committed in the east Berkshire area.”

Mr Hanson is well known within the community and last year led a high profile campaign to prevent the deportation of a woman who claimed she had been accused of witchcraft in her native Nigeria and faced certain death if she returned.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Chelmsford said: “The Bishop of Chelmsford has suspended Rev Hanson from all his duties within the Church of England. This suspension is without prejudice. The Church of England follows established policies and procedures and training programmes in child protection. We are holding all those who may be affected by the situation in our prayers and are providing pastoral care to Rev Hanson and the parish.”