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Abuse suspect priest found dead

by Hannah Tooley

The allegations relate to Fr Ernest Sands when he was a teacher in an Upholland College in north west England. 

He worked at St Joseph's Roman Catholic College in Lancashire where future priests were trained up.

The 67-year-old was arrested on suspicion of child sexual abuse and was found dead last Monday.

Fr Sands, formerly of Oswestry, was arrested in 2015 by Lancashire Police on suspicion of sexually abusing five boys at a Catholic seminary.

A police spokesperson told the BBC his death is not being treated as suspicious and the alleged victims have been informed.

The allegations of abuse are thought to have taken place in the late 1970s and 1980s against boys aged 11 to 15.

The police said: "He had been due to answer bail on 11 April but was found dead at an address in Oswestry, on 11 April".

Fr Sands had not played an active role in the Church in recent years.

The police said that a file was being prepared for the coroner and The Crown Prosecution Service said it is also considering a file prepared by police.

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