Priest accused of historical sex abuse

St Joseph's College, UpHolland

St Joseph's College, UpHolland

A Catholic priest was today due to appear before magistrates to face historical sex abuse charges relating to his time at a former Wigan seminary.

Father Michael Higginbottom, who worked at St Joseph’s College in Up Holland throughout the 1970s, has been charged with six offences relating to two victims under the age of 16.

The 72-year-old, of West Farm Road, Newcastle, is due at Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court today having been charged last month following an investigation by Lancashire Police.

He is currently suspended from his post at a church in the North East, a spokesman for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle told the Evening Post.

Fr Higginbottom has been charged with four counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery.

St Joseph’s College, one of the area’s most spectacular buildings, closed its doors in the 1990s and, despite numerous ideas being tabled to council planners for a new use, the building has stood empty and neglected since.

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