A Catholic priest has been jailed after attempting to meet a two-year-old boy to abuse him.
Matthew Jolley, of Rhona Drive, Great Sankey, Warrington, was sentenced to 40 months in prison at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 25 October.
The 32-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to arranging the commission of a child sex offence.
The case against Jolley, who has served as Catholic priest in Widnes, began on 4 September 2019.
On this date he used a number of social media platforms to engage in sexualised communications with a man he believed to be a fellow paedophile.
Within the conversations Jolley spoke about his sexual interest in young children.
Following a number of chats, Jolley arranged to meet with his counterpart in order to abuse the man’s two-year-old son.
However, unbeknown to Jolley, the man he had been communicating with was actually an undercover law enforcement officer.
On Thursday 26 September Jolley drove to Hale and met an officer who pretended to be the fellow paedophile.
During the meeting Jolley again discussed how he planned to abuse the child.
He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of child sex offences.
Following sentencing, Detective Constable Louise Murphy, of Cheshire's On-line Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Jolley committed this terrible offence whilst holding a position of trust.
"Through his online communications it was clear to see that he was sexually attracted to young children and would do whatever he could in order to fulfil his own sexual gratification.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the undercover law enforcement officers who have been instrumental in building the case against Jolley.
"This case shows how well agencies can work together in order to protect the most vulnerable people in society. It also sends a clear message that anyone who commits such offences are not above the law and they will be brought to justice, regardless of who they are and what they do.”
On top of the custodial sentence Jolley was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.