A FORMER priest has been found guilty of sexually abusing a boy in vicarages in Bolton and Atherton.

Frank Baldwick was convicted by a jury of nine men and three women at Bolton Crown Court.

They took just 90 minutes to return guilty verdicts on the two counts of indecent assault.

The offences — which date from the late 1970s when Baldwick was the Church of England vicar of St Michael’s Great Lever, and then of St Anne’s Hindsford, Atherton — were committed against a boy aged between 11 and 13 at the time.

Baldwick, now aged 91, appeared in court wearing a navy blue suit and carrying a walking stick.

Deputy Circuit Judge Elliot Knopf ordered a pre sentence report to be drawn up before sentencing, and said Baldwick would have to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

Addressing Baldwick, whom he allowed to remain seated during his closing remarks, Judge Knopf said: “I have to make it clear to you that as far as sentencing is concerned, all options will be open for me on that occasion.”

The trial heard that the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to St Michael’s vicarage, in Green Lane, by Barry Arthurs, a boy six years older than him.

The court heard that Baldwick bought the boy food and soft drinks, and flattered him.

The boy was then shown pornographic magazines before the vicar, who was then aged in his early 50s, indecently assaulted him.

After Baldwick had moved to become the vicar of St Anne’s in 1978, Arthurs arranged for the boy to see the vicar again.

Arthurs himself indecently assaulted the boy over a five year period and has already pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault.

The victim gave evidence in court and said he only spoke of the abuse during a counselling session in 2013.

The court also heard that Baldwick describes himself as a naturist, and had sexual relationships with men while serving in the RAF during the war, and after his wife died in 1975 from motor neurone disease.

Baldwick, now of Lady Bay Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, had denied touching underage boys — but admitted he watched another boy masturbate at an upstairs room in the vicarages.

Baldwick and Arthurs will both be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square, on October 20.