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Sex abuse choirmaster and teacher Mark Burgess faces sentencing hearing

A former choirmaster and teacher Mark Burgess has been convicted of sexually abusing 13 children between 1975 and 2009.

Posted on 24 June 2021

Mark Burgess, aged 68, of St Chads Avenue, Hilsea, Portsmouth, is due to be sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court following his conviction of 48 counts of child abuse.

Leigh Day law firm represents a survivor of Burgess’ abuse and will be attending the sentencing hearing on 30 June.

The offences happened when Burgess was choirmaster at All Saints Church choir in Portsmouth and Westbourne Choir in West Sussex.

The offences 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.

Burgess took advantage of his positions of trust to get closer to children and draw them into his trust, reported Hampshire Police. He then committed the sexual abuse, assaulting children during piano lessons at his home or in the church vestry, in his car, on choir trips out of county, and in the school music room.

Hampshire Police reported that Detective Inspector Adam Edwards said:

“Burgess denied the allegations made against him, and falsely tried to deflect the blame onto others. I am pleased the jury saw through his lies and justice has now been served.

“I want to commend the bravery of all the survivors who came forward to speak to police about this abuse.

“They have had to relive some of the worst experiences of their lives by going through the trial process, but their courage and commitment to bringing Mark Burgess to justice has ensured that he will be rightly punished for these horrific crimes.”

In a joint statement, reported by Hampshire Police following the court case, some of the survivors of Burges’ abuse said:

“Having to bury such a dark secret for decades, only to have to relive it all again, has been indescribable.

“Bringing up the past and coming to terms with what has happened at the hands of this monster has not been easy. The abuse was horrific and calculated.

“We had passions: music, singing, and the church. He exploited those passions for his ends.

“He manipulated, groomed, charmed, and bribed his way into our lives for his sexual gratification.”

Leigh Day law firm’s abuse team, which has many years’ experience of handling other similar cases, is led by Alison Millar.

Alison Millar
Abuse claims Human rights

Alison Millar

Alison Millar works in the human rights department at Leigh Day, where she is the head of abuse claims

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Abuse and exploitation claims

Acting on behalf of those who have suffered abuse