Choirmaster Mark Burgess sentenced to 40 years for sexual abuse
Lawyers representing a survivor of choirmaster Mark Burgess’s sexual abuse have issued a statement following his sentencing today at Portsmouth Crown Court.
Posted on 30 June 2021
Burgess, aged 68, of St Chads Avenue, Hilsea, Portsmouth, was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment following his conviction of 48 counts of child abuse.
The offences happened when Burgess was choirmaster at All Saints Church choir in Portsmouth and Westbourne Choir in West Sussex.
They included 26 counts of indecent assault, 15 counts of gross indecency with a child, four counts of buggery, one count of attempted indecent assault and two counts of sexual indecency with a child. Burgess had taught at Portsmouth City Boys’ School and also ran choirs in St John’s church in Westbourne, Sussex, and All Saints Church in Commercial Road in Portsmouth.
Leigh Day partner Alison Millar, who represents a survivor of Burgess’s abuse in a potential civil case, said:
“The Court heard that Burgess’s persistent and multiple offending had caused the survivors of his crimes huge pain throughout their lives, aggravated in the criminal proceedings by his not guilty pleas and lack of understanding of what he did.
“They have had to live with the impact of his appalling abuse every day for decades and this lengthy sentence is merited in the circumstances.
“I hope that with Burgess’s sentencing those directly affected will gain a degree of closure. They have been enormously brave to come forward and disclose what he did to them after such a long time and participate in the process of bringing him to justice, which can be very difficult for those struggling with the memories of childhood abuse.
“Our client strongly believes that the Hampshire schooling system and Portsmouth Diocese should hold a level of accountability for allowing such a clearly manipulative and dangerous man to practice his personal craft for so long, affecting generations of young boys.”