August 2019

Former teacher/choirmaster with “dark paedophile inclination” has been jailed for abusing four boys

A former boarding school choirmaster with a “dark paedophile inclination” has been jailed for abusing four boys.

Kenneth Francis assaulted the boys while working at Widford Lodge Boarding School in Chelmsford in the 1970s.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Francis touched boys’ genitals and told one of them: “This is our secret.”

Francis, 72, of Akasaka in Tokyo, was jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of 15 counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency.

The court heard the boys were under the age of 16.

The attacks happened at the school and at Francis’s then home in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, between 1972 and 1979, with Francis giving alcohol to some of his victims.

He had kissed pupils during one-to-one lessons before touching their genitals, the court heard.

One of Francis’s victims said during the trial that he had been abused beneath the school stage then given reward stars by the choirmaster, which he told police were “for my performance under the stage”.

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

Sentencing him, 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 must also sign the sex offenders register for life and was made subject of a 12-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, banning him from contact with any boy under 16.

August 2019

Retired teacher who sexually abused children in the 1970s is convicted of 17 charges

A retired teacher who sexually abused children in the 1970s has been convicted of 17 offences.

Kenneth Francis assaulted four boys who were pupils at a school in the Chelmsford area.

The attacks took place at locations including the school and his then home in Boreham between 1972 and 1979.

On some occasions he gave alcohol to the victims – who were all under 16 – before assaulting them.

The offences came to light in April 2017 when one of the victims reported that Francis had sexually assaulted him. Further allegations were uncovered during the course of our investigation.

Two of the men he abused when they were children have spoken of the impact his actions have had on their lives.

One said: “This has been a very long, hard journey and it has taken its toll on myself, my family and friends.

“To get to this point where truth and justice have been upheld is an immense relief.

“I would like to thank the police who have worked so tirelessly on this case, the support staff who have helped me to come to terms with what happened, and my family and friends who have supported me on this journey with love and prayer.”

The second man said: “I never planned to speak out about these things that happened to me so many years ago but am now proud that I was brave enough to do so.

“It’s possible the victims in this case are just the tip of the iceberg and there may be more out there, harbouring their scars and trying to move forward as best they can – just as I have.

“The psychological scarring is something that I have had to struggle with growing up, but it never heals.

“You just learn to live with it, as a dark part of yourself that you try to keep hidden away.

“Now I am able to let it rest for what it is.

“I’d like to thank the person who was brave enough to start the proceedings that led to charges being brought.

“A lot of children’s lives have been harmed and it’s such a positive message that justice can prevail – and that everyone is accountable for their actions in the end.

“Essex Police and officers from my local force have been diligent, professional and supportive.

“I have also been touched by the warm support from my family and friends, who were brave and loving enough to stand up and speak my truth.

“And as we all know, the truth can set you free.”

Francis, now 72, of Akasaka in Tokyo, was voluntarily interviewed in July 2017 and was arrested and further interviewed in July 2018.

In October 2018, he was charged with 13 counts of indecent assault and four counts of committing an act of gross indecency.

He stood trial at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday 15 July and was convicted today, Friday 2 August, of all the charges.

Francis is due to be sentenced on Tuesday 27 August.