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Minister suspended after sex allegations; CHURCH.

A CHURCH minister has been suspended from his post while police investigate a number of alleged sexual assaults on teenage boys.

The Rev Neville Husband, of Shotley Bridge, Co Durham, was suspended by the United Reformed Church after his arrest.

Mr Husband, who is minister of the Brighton Road and Cromer Avenue URC churches in Gateshead, was working as a prison officer and catering staff member at Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett, County Durham, at the time of the alleged incidents.

The centre closed in 1987.

Detective Inspector Simon Orton, of Durham Police, said yesterday, "In June of this year, the Reverend Neville Husband, 63, was arrested in connection with an investigation into allegations of assault on teenage boys between 1975 and 1981 at Medomsley Detention Centre in Co Durham.

"The detention centre closed some years ago but in the mid-1970s Mr Husband was a prison officer and a member of the catering staff at Medomsley.

"Mr Husband has since become an ordained minister of the United Reformed Church with responsibility for two churches in Gateshead.

"Police inquiries into the assault allegation are continuing. As part of that investigation, computer and other material were seized from Mr Husband's home in Co Durham.

"In relation to that computer material, investigators have submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration."

A URC spokesman said yesterday, "In the rare event that a serious allegation is made in relation to a minister of the United Reformed Church, it is the practice of the church to suspend the minister in question without prejudice until the result of the investigations becomes clear.

"In accordance with that practice, when the church learned that allegations had been made against Neville Husband, a minister of two local churches in the Northern Synod, he was immediately suspended without prejudice from his duties, though it is our understanding that he denies the allegations."

Mr Husband, a minister for seven years, was yesterday unavailable for comment.

His colleague, the Rev Anthony Haws, who has parishes in Blackhill, Consett and Chester-le-Street, said, "I am amazed at this news. I know him as a family man."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 12, 2001
Words:355
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