August 2019

Rochester Cathedral’s former music director Scott Farrell jailed for five years for sexual offences

A former organist at a Cathedral who invited children back to his flat to show them pornography and encouraged them to masturbate has been jailed for five years.

Scott Farrell, 48, of High Street, Wouldham, used his position to befriend three young boys and their parents before subjecting them to abuse.

He would show the boys, who were aged between 13 and 15, pornography in his flat and encouraged them to touch themselves as he also masturbated.

Farrell had previously admitted three counts of gross indecency with a boy under 16, two counts of voyeurism and one count of taking indecent images of a child.

He was suspended from his high-profile post at Rochester in March last year after being arrested and resigned eight months later.

He appeared at Cambridge Crown Court today where the court heard how one of his victims now needs counselling.

He first held the position of assistant director of music at Ely Cathedral in January 1999 before becoming music director at Rochester Cathedral.

Colleagues described him as having a “lively personality” and said he was a “valued and respected” member of the music department.

But that all changed when he was arrested in November 2018 after one of his victims had heard about Harvey Weinstein and reported his own abuse to police.

Farrell had met the boys through his work at Ely and would take the boys out for burgers and took them to the cinemas which prosecuting lawyer Charles Falk said was a “gradual build of trust and friendship.”

The court heard how Farrell would also take the boys on educational music trips and allowed them to turn the pages while the played the organ.

It would start with a conversation about masturbation with Farrell asking his victims: “So you guys masturbate right? What’s the best way to do it?”

He would then put DVDs on and skip to the sex scenes.

Farrell would pleasure himself while the boys were sat nearby but the court heard how there was never any contact between himself and the victims sexually.

One boy described how there was another boy there who he said looked “uncomfortable” but Farrell reassured him that it was okay and so he believed it was.

Another victim, remembers Farrell making a comment to one of the other boys, saying “come on don’t be shy” because his trousers weren’t pulled down very far.

When police raided Farrell’s Wouldham house, they seized his mobile phone which when examined revealed further disturbing offences.

Officers found videos and still images of another boy who was filmed showering in his own bathroom.

Farrell had befriended the boy’s parents who invited him to stay round their house three or four times after they moved.

He even bought the boy expensive gifts including books that were up to the value of £400.

When police showed the images to his parents, his mother said in a statement that she felt “shocked, disgusted and violated.”

It read: “I cannot believe that my husband and I continued to believe in Scott and trust him. I cannot begin to discuss how shocked, and disgusted I felt.

“My husband and I trusted him completely as a family member almost, we allowed him into our home and trusted with completely with our children.”

She also described how she felt like herself and her husband were groomed into allowing him access to their home and their son.

Mr Falk read out part of the victim’s statement: “The defendant was an important part of the victim’s life. He struggles to trust people and believes everyone has an ulterior motive.

“He can’t have a shower without having to check whether there is a camera. He has not slept and once had a dream that the defendant came into his room. He had a panic attack when he saw that a teacher had the same car as him.

“He feels angry and worthless. He has had issues with mental health but he has hit rock bottom and says life is pointless.”

Along with the video of the child showering police uncovered two more images of two adult women undressing while they were in his home.

He had built a friendship with both women over the years and secretly recorded them undressing on two separate occasions while they were in his home.

Sentencing Farrell, Judge Stuart Bridge, told him: “You are a man of good character, I have read documents which indicate the good work done in the community and in your position as assistant director of music.

“While you were there, you abused that position by inviting young boys aged between 13 and 15 to your flat where abuse took place.

“It is absolutely clear to me that there must be an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”

Farrell was jailed for five years, was made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 15 years and will also be on the Sex Offenders’ register for life.

A restraining order was also put in place in relation to one of the victims.

May 2019

Former cathedral director of music admits child sex offences

A former director of music for a number of cathedrals in England has admitted committing sexual offences against children.

Scott Farrell, 48, of High Street, Wouldham, near Rochester in Kent, appeared at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court this morning (Tuesday, 28 May) after receiving a summons.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency with a boy under 16, two counts of voyeurism and one count of taking indecent images of a child.

An investigation was launched by Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Child Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (CAISU) in November 2017 after they received allegations against Farrell.

It was alleged during his time as assistant organist for Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire between 1999 and 2001, he befriended some of the children under his supervision and, on occasions, invited them back to his flat.

Police were told how Farrell would show the children pornographic images and videos before carrying out sexual acts.

At the time police were made aware of these allegations, Farrell was working as the director of music at Rochester Cathedral in Kent.

He was arrested and immediately suspended from his role while an investigation was carried out.

Farrell’s electronic devices were seized, which uncovered voyeuristic images and videos believed to have been taken on hidden cameras in bathrooms and bedrooms, some at his own flat, others at different homes

In addition to this, 135 indecent images of children were found which Farrell had taken himself.

Farrell was released on bail until he appears at crown court for sentencing.