A Catholic priest has been jailed after a man he arranged to meet in order to abuse his son, two, turned out to be an undercover police officer.
Father Matthew Jolley was duped by the officer he first approached on the Grindr dating app in September.
It took the priest less than 20 minutes to tell the undercover officer – posing as a 36-year-old bisexual man – that he was sexually interested in young children.
Over the course of a number of depraved chats, Jolley, 32, admitted while he mainly liked girls, a ‘cute’ boy would also be of interest, according to Manchester Evening News reports.
After telling the police officer he wanted to ‘do his two-year-old son’ – who did not exist – the priest then sent an indecent image of himself.
The lurid conversation shifted from Grindr to Kik Messenger and later to Wickr – an encrypted platform for private chats. In these chats, Jolley revealed his sick fantasy of ‘sharing’ the child with his dad.
Liverpool Crown Court heard Jolley began communicating with the officer while based in Belgium but planned to return to the UK for two weeks before travelling to Rome in October.
On 26 September he arranged to meet the undercover cop at a home in Halton, Cheshire. When the priest arrived Jolley described what he wanted to do to the defenceless child – completely oblivious to the fact he was talking to an undercover officer.
When the officer revealed his true identity the priest tried to make a run for it but was tackled to the ground and arrested.
On Friday, Jolley from Great Sankey, Warrington, was jailed for three years and four months and placed on the sex offenders register for life after pleading guilty to arranging the commission of a child sex offence.
Judge recorder Jeremy Lakser condemned the actions of the priest and told him: ‘It cannot be said it was an aberration, it was something you considered at length over a time.
During that lengthy period it progressed so far as you believed almost to fruition. ‘You are an ordained priest in the Catholic church.
‘I do not impose a more severe sentence for that reason but it goes without saying, although I do say it, that your words and actions and intentions seem to me to be wholly inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic church and you have done nothing but a great disservice to the church.’
Follow,Louse Murphying the sentencing, Detective Constable Louise Murphy praised the work of the task force which brought the predatory priest to justice.
She said: ‘Through his online communications it was clear to see that he was sexually attracted to young children and would do whatever he could in order to fulfil his own sexual gratification.
‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank the undercover law enforcement officers who have been instrumental in building the case against Jolley. ‘This case shows how well agencies can work together in order to protect the most vulnerable people in society. It also sends a clear message that anyone who commits such offences are not above the law and they will be brought to justice, regardless of who they are and what they do.’