THE FOUNDER of Leamington’s Community Arts Workshop (CAW) has been jailed for sexually abusing a young boy in the mid 1980s.
Francis Godwin, of Cottage Square, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court to 20 months after being convicted of five counts of gross indecency with a boy under the age of 14. He was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register and was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
The now 54 year-old came into contact with his victim while living in the Didsbury area when the boy was around six years-old. He went on to sexually abuse the youngster on a number of occasions in 1984 and 1985, starting when the boy was aged eight.
In October last year, the now adult victim came forward to police about the non-recent abuse fearing Godwin could attack someone else.
Godwin was arrested and during a police interview in February he admitted he had touched the boy despite knowing it was wrong and also admitted to sexualising him from a young age.
Det Con Dan Sanchez, of Greater Manchester Police’s public protection division, said: “Godwin took advantage of a young boy to satisfy his own sickening urges.
“It has undoubtedly had a significant impact on him and it wasn’t until he was an adult, and worried about other people who could be at risk from Godwin, that he was able to come forward.
“To come to police after all these years shows a huge amount of courage and I hope that the sentence will send a clear message that no matter how long ago abuse took place, we are prepared to investigate and see the case through the court process.”
Godwin founded CAW in 1999. It provides art workshops for people with learning disabilities and was granted charity status in 2011.
He was also a former trustee at the now defunct Bath Place Community Venture, and more recently a community engagement officer with Warwick Town Council working on the Unlocking Warwick project to refurbish and renovate the town’s old Court House.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Godwin’s victim has shown great courage in coming forward and speaking out about the abuse he suffered.
“This case shows victims that they can come forward no matter how much time has passed, and they will be listened to.
“Anyone with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 8005000, children seeking advice can contact Childline on 0800 1111.”