A TRUSTED senior figure in Bournemouth Jehovah’s Witness community raped and sexually abused children over a period of nearly 17 years, a court heard yesterday.

Barry Furlong, a former fireman, attacked four girls – the youngest aged just five – who didn’t report what had happened to them for many years because they feared they would not be believed, Bournemouth Crown Court was told.

Now 69-year-old, Furlong, of Keeble Crescent, Kinson, is accused of four charges of rape, four of indecent assault and six of indecency with a child, alleged to have been committed between December 1979 and November 1996.

He denies all of the charges.

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