Clayhall priest cleared of sexual activity charges

A Roman Catholic priest has been cleared of fondling a teenage boy at his church after charges against him were dropped.

Jeba Marshall, 60, was left facing a possible retrial after a jury failed to decide whether he was guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.

He was cleared of a further two identical charges on October 10, after a two-week trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

At a further brief hearing prosecutors accepted there was no chance of a conviction and dropped the remaining two charges.

Mr Marshall had been accused of kissing the teenager on his cheeks and stroking his back and stomach at the St John Vianney Church in Stoneleigh Road, Clayhall.

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But the priest, of Stoneleigh Road, denied any wrongdoing.

He explained his Indian heritage made him more “touchy-feely” towards his flock and denied there was any sexual motivation.

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Prosecutors accepted they did not have the evidence to prove otherwise and threw out the case.

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