Man denies raping city schoolgirl and molesting teenager at Sunday school

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A self-confessed child abuser has denied repeatedly raping a girl at a school in Leeds and molesting another teenager during Sunday school sessions at a Bradford church.

John Laister, 72, has already admitted he indecently assaulted the teenager while working at the Leeds school in the early 1970s. But Laister, now of Abdingdon, Oxfordshire, told a jury at Bradford Crown Court yesterday he never had sex with the girl and did not rape her.

The jury heard that in 1973 and 1991 Laister had pleaded guilty to offences involving sexual intercourse with girls under 16. In 1989 he was questioned by police about sexual allegations and admitted that he had “touched” a girl while working near Scarborough. Laister, formerly of Leeds, told officers he had also molested other children at the Leeds school as well as youngsters who attended Sunday school at a Bradford church. He was never charged but a new police probe was launched in 2012.

Earlier this year he pleaded guilty to indecent assault charges involving the alleged rape victim. The second complainant has alleged Laister sexually abused her during Sunday school sessions, at his Leeds home and in his car, but he said admissions he made in 1989 did not relate to her. Laister has denied charges of rape, indecent assault and indecency with a child. The trial continues.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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