A priest who sexually abused two schoolboys at a school in the 1970s and 1980s has today (Tuesday, July 30) been jailed.
Michael Higginbottom, 76, of West Farm Road, Newcastle, was sentenced to 18 years in prison at Burnley Crown Court.
Higginbottom had been convicted in 2017 of sexual offences relating to one boy at St Joseph's College in Upholland.
But he faced a retrial after the original conviction was quashed on appeal. He was later accused of abusing a second pupil.
Higginbottom, who denied all the charges, was found guilty of five counts of serious sexual assault and seven counts of indecent assault.
Both victims said they were abused by Higginbottom in his private living quarters when he was a teacher at the school for boys aged 11 to 18.
Det Sgt Steve Ollerton, of Lancashire Police, said: “Michael Higginbottom subjected his victims to prolonged periods of abuse.
“He preyed on the boys, carrying out a series of serious sexual offences and indecent assaults. In so doing he breached his position of trust in the worst way imaginable.
“I am pleased he has been brought to justice and will now be in prison for a long time.
“Both victims have shown a tremendous amount of courage throughout this investigation and subsequent trial.
“I hope today’s sentencing will allow them to begin to put this ordeal behind them and move forward with their lives.
“If anyone has been the victim of a sexual offence, I would urge them to come forward and report it to us.
“We take all reports seriously and ensure that victims are treated sensitively and professionally at all times.”