Black Collar Crime: Three Salvation Army Members Convicted of Sexually Abusing Young Girls

salvation army

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Trevor Worthington, his son Philip, and William Tomkinson — all members (soldiers) of the Salvation Army — have been found guilty of sexually abusing young girls.

The Global Beacon reports:

“Three men who were members of the Salvation Army – including a father and son – have been found guilty of sexually abusing young girls.

Trevor Worthington, 88, his son Philip Worthington, 64, and William Tomkinson, 70, were convicted of charges including indecent assault and attempted rape.

The assaults against two victims took place in the 1970s and 1980s, Preston Crown Court heard on Thursday.

Another man, Derek Smith, 68, admitted indecent assault at an earlier hearing.

The abuse took place in a number of locations around Blackpool, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

William Tomkinson first abused one of the girls in the 1970s when she was 11 years old.

He was treasurer for the Salvation Army at the time.

Philip Worthington began to abuse the same girl when she was 13 years old and Derek Smith abused her when she was 14.

When the victim told Trevor Worthington about the abuse, including that his son had been one of the perpetrators, Worthington himself began abusing her, the CPS said.

During a police investigation into the first victim’s allegations, a second victim came forward to report that Tomkinson and Philip Worthington had sexually abused her in the 1980s, from when she was 15 years old.

Sophie Rozdolskyj, from the CPS, said: “These men abused their positions of high standing in the community to take advantage of two young and trusting girls.”

The men will be sentenced at a future date.

Dean Juster, director of the Salvation Army’s Safeguarding, apologised to the victims and said the organisation was “deeply concerned” that the assaults took place.

“As soon as we were made aware of the charges the action we took was to suspend the three individuals from our organisation. We worked closely with the police and provided access to our internal investigation records.

“We have listened carefully to this case and whilst we followed internal processes we had in place at the time we will ensure that we learn from any lessons in this case.”

….

The Black Pool Gazette adds:

Dean Juster, Director of The Salvation Army’s Safeguarding Department, said: “We unreservedly apologise for the pain the victims have suffered and our thoughts are firmly with them and their families. We are deeply concerned that these assaults took place and we hope that today’s guilty verdict will be a small step on a journey of healing for them.” “As soon as we were made aware of the charges the action we took was to suspend the three individuals from our organisation. We worked closely with the police and provided access to our internal investigation records. We have listened carefully to this case and whilst we followed internal processes we had in place at the time we will ensure that we learn from any lessons in this case. “We fully understand that it takes a lot of courage to come forward and we would like to reassure the public that any concerns they have around safeguarding will be investigated thoroughly and we will actively encourage victims to share their experiences with the police at the earliest possible stage, to ensure they have every opportunity to be heard.”

Trevor Worthington, 88, of Mayfield Avenue, Thornton, was found guilty of indecent assault by a majority jury after 21 hours of deliberations at Preston Crown Court. His son Philip Worthington, 64, of Warwick Place, Blackpool, was found guilty of seven indecent assaults. William Tompkinson, 70, of Raleigh Drive, South Shore – a married man who had been the treasurer of the Citadel – was convicted of 10 offences of indecent assault in the early 1970s. A fourth man – Derek Jeffrey Smith, 67, of Hall Park Drive, Lytham – previously admitted indecent assault.

The men were all members – known as ‘soldiers’ – of the Salvation Army. Sophie Rozdolskyj, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “These men abused their positions of high standing in the community to take advantage of two young and trusting girls. “Three of the men consistently denied the allegations throughout the investigation and prosecution. However the CPS presented a strong case to the jury which included compelling evidence from the two women who were abused by these men. “I would like to pay tribute to them for coming forward and giving their evidence to the court.” Earlier in the case Richard Haworth, prosecuting, said the first victim, now in her 50s, was abused from the age of 11 by the defendants.

Tompkinson was accused of fondling the girl during a van journey, with the seriousness of his acts progressing over time. When the girl turned 13 it was alleged Philip Worthington, who was also married, started abusing her, giving her lifts in his sports car. It was claimed when the girl turned to Trevor Worthington to confide in him about the abuse by the other two men he perpetrated abuse on her in his car. Another complainant came forward when the matters were being investigated by Lancashire Police. Mr Haworth said: “Philip Worthington would approach her from behind, grab her and molest her. This carried on for a number of years, culminating in an incident on a car park when he sexually assaulted her.”

….

An April 23, 2018 report in The Gazette states:

William Russell Tomkinson, of Raleigh Avenue, Blackpool, was sentenced to four years in prison for 10 counts of indecent assault. Philip Worthington, of Warwick Place, Blackpool, was convicted of four counts of indecent assault, indecency with a child and two attempted rape of the first woman, and five counts of indecent assault of the second woman. He was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison. Trevor Worthington, of Mayfield Avenue, Thornton, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for one count of indecent assault. Smith, of Hall Park Drive, Lytham, was given a 15 months sentence, suspended for two years with supervision, and must do 100 hours of unpaid work. Tomkinson, Smith and Trevor Worthington were placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years. Philip Worthington was placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely. All four men were given restraining orders banning them from contacting their victims.

Investigating officer Simon Morris, of Lancashire Constabulary’s public protection unit, said:

These men completely abused the trust that was placed in them, as members of the Salvation Army. To the outside world they appeared to be upstanding members of the church – when in fact they were anything but. Tomkinson, Smith and Philip Worthington sexually exploited their victim for their own satisfaction. When she eventually confided in Trevor Worthington – a man she ought to have been able to trust – he did not help her, instead using the opportunity to abuse her himself. The victims in this case have shown great courage in coming forward and reporting what happened to them more than 40 years ago and there is no doubt the abuse they suffered has had a lasting effect on them. I hope today’s sentence brings some comfort and allows them to move on with their lives.

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8 Comments

  1. Michael Worthington

    This is a load of crap,, This is my family that that has been wrongfully accused !
    I was only maybe 7 yrs old when these false allegations were supposedly going on. I know my Dad and Brother did not do this

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      You were seven, so you could not have possibly “known” whether these things happened. The court, of course, disagreed with your “knowing.”

      Reply
  2. Michael Worthington

    Do u know my Dad or my Brother, I’m guessing no, so please be quiet

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      No, but I know how to read. If the posted news report is, in any way, factually incorrect, I will gladly add your corrections or objections to the story. If not, there is really nothing you have to add to this post except your personal opinion about events that took place when you were a child. The court evidently thought the evidence was enough to convict them. This is not my personal opinion of “fake” news. It is a matter of public record.

      So, no, I won’t be quiet.

      Reply
  3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

    Michael Worthington sent me the following comment:

    You talk very big over the internet you prick,,, I know for a Fact that my Dad didn’t touch any girl in 1978 because our family had moved to California in 1977 .. so when this woman said in 1978 that my Dad did this was Incorrect.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      So, you would have readers believe that your dad was convicted in a court of law on hearsay without any corroborating evidence? Do you have proof for your assertion? Again, if you have evidence that contradicts the news reports, please provide it and I will add it to the post. What I will NOT do is get into an ongoing argument with you over this case. The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news reports. If you object to this post, you really should take up your objections with the newspapers mentioned in the post.

      Reply
  4. Brian

    It is very hard to accept wrongdoing so close to home, Mr, Worthington but as Gerencser points out, you are missing the point entirely by shooting the messenger. How can you sit idly by with your family so wrongly convicted? Do you want me to answer that for you? Because you have had to put the pain away, to deny it as black magic that somehow overtook your family. That is a matter for therapy if you are willing. Understand that abusive traits are handed down through generations if they are not stopped. Men acting on impulse and harming youngsters is part of the church structure. Are you still involved with this Army? What have you done to avoid harming others yourself? My dad was a BAptist preacher and I have paid for years of therapy to manage the results of a Christian upbringing. I advocate on behalf of children and spread the word regarding non-punitive parenting. What have you done to curb the dark history that haunts you?

    Reply
  5. Jada

    Huh, rotten apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

    Reply

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