Catholic priest to face sex charges

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A cathedral priest has appeared at Preston Crown Court charged with historic sex offences.

Canon Stephen Shield, 53, who was dean at the Roman Catholic cathedral in St Peter’s Road, Lancaster, sat with hands clasped in the dock as a timetable was set out for court proceedings.

Shield was arrested by police on March 23 and charged with three offences of indecent assault relating to one male. He has yet to enter any pleas to the charges.

The offences are alleged to have been committed more than two decades ago when the alleged victim was aged between 17 and 24.

Shield was granted bail with conditions he does not contact directly or indirectly the alleged victim or have any unsupervised contact with any person under the age of 18.

He will return to court on July 26 for a plea and case management hearing. A trial date has been set for November 11. Following his arrest a Lancaster diocese spokesman confirmed that Shield had withdrawn from the ministry pending the outcome of the court proceedings.