Former verger in court again on indecent assault charges - The Leamington Observer

Former verger in court again on indecent assault charges

Correspondent 13th Apr, 2017   0

AFTER an assistant verger at the historic St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Warwick had appeared in court for fondling a vulnerable teenager, another victim came to light.

That victim came forward after seeing newspaper reports of one of two court cases for which of retired teacher Alan Baker had appeared at Warwick Crown Court last year.

And at the court, 81 year-old Baker, of Buckley Road, Leamington, was jailed for two-and-a-half years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life after pleading guilty to three charges of indecent assault.

Prosecutor Paul Fairley said in April last year Baker had been given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years for sexual assaults on a 17-year-old youth.

As a result of subsequent press coverage, the police were contacted by a man in his early 40s who described having been abused by Baker when he was 14 or 15.

He had come in to contact with Baker, who at the time was a teacher at a local primary and middle school and a prominent member of St Mary’s Collegiate Church, at a time when he was having difficulties at home.

Baker befriended him and began offering him private music tuition, during which he said Baker would stand behind him, pressing himself against his back, although Baker denied doing so when he was interviewed.

The man also described incidents when Baker would push him up against a wall and fondle him.

Most seriously, on one occasion when the boy had gone into a bedroom to look for some sheet music, Baker had performed a sex act on him.

When Baker was arrested, he ‘broadly accepted’ what his victim had said, but claimed that at no stage had the boys asked him to stop.

Mr Fairley pointed out that as well as the sentence a year ago, Baker had been back before the court in November after he breached a Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed at the time of the original sentence.

That had involved him continuing to give music lessons to children without informing some of the children’s parents about his conviction, in breach of the order.

And as a result he was given an additional eight-month sentence suspended for two years.

Nick Devine, defending, said: “The principal mitigation is, of course, the guilty plea he entered at the very first opportunity; and there is remorse felt by Mr Baker. The other factor is his age. He is 81 years of age and not in the best of health.”

Jailing Baker, Recorder Lowe told him: “This was a very grave offence. He (the victim) was only 14 or 15 at the time. It is difficult sometimes to understand the effects that such sexual activity has on such young people.

“There was quite significant grooming, a gross breach of trust and a significant disparity in age. The psychological effect on him has been quite profound.

“You have been able to live the last 25-or-so years of your life with everyone believing you were an upstanding member of the community, when you were not.”

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