UPDATE: Priest appears in court on historic sex charges

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A Church of England priest charged with historic sex offences against a girl has appeared in court.

Derek Spencer, 50, of Downview Road, Worthing, appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday (January 17) charged with three counts of inciting a girl under the age of 16 to commit an act of gross indecency at a school in Essex.

Police said Spencer, who was vicar of Thakeham and Sullington at the time of his arrest in May 2017, pleaded not guilty. He will appear at Crown Court for trial on October 15 and is on court bail, officers added.

The prosecution follows an investigation by the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit.

The investigation has no connection with the school, police said.