Retired choirmaster guilty of abusing boys

Kenneth Francis will spend 12 years in jail

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

A retired school choirmaster who sexually abused boys during the 1970s has been jailed for 12 years.

Kenneth Francis denied all offences but was found guilty of indecent assault and gross indecency in Chelmsford Crown Court.

He assaulted four boys, all under the age of 16, while they were pupils at a school in the Chelmsford area.

His offending only became public in 2017 when one of his victims reported the abuse.

The 72-year-old would give alcohol to some of his victims, touch their genitals and told one of them “this is our secret”.

In a victim impact statement read to the court one man said he “resented” being at the school.

Another said he felt he was “betraying” his parents by not telling them, and only managed to let them know about the abuse a few years before they died.

Judge David Turner QC said: “Behind the facade of competency, respectability and uprightness you hid a dark paedophile inclination which was to blight the life of those boys and leave a profound legacy of psychological damage.”

Francis had lived with his husband in Japan before charges were brought and lawyer Jacqueline Carey said there was “great uncertainty” about whether he could return home once he had served his time.

He was jailed for 12 years and will serve half in custody and the rest on licence.

He must also sign the sex offenders register for life and is banned from contact with any boy under the age of 16.

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