Cyril Ashton Rowe, 78, a retired vicar, was convicted of three counts of indecent assault at Bournemouth Crown Court for four years. Mr Rowe abused a choirboy between the ages of 9 – 11 in 1979 and 1981. A police investigation in August 2015 was launched after the victim informed members of his family.
The 47 year old victim had motor neurone disease and was not able to speak or write but was determined to seek justice against the vicar who had abused him. He gave evidence during the trial via a link from a hospice in Sydenham. The CPS used eye – tracking technology that translated his blinks into words to help the victim give evidence. The victim unfortunately died on the day the verdict was returned and before he could be informed of the Jury’s conclusion.
Rowe would lock the church door, pin him down and sexually abuse him, before apologising and giving him £1. This happened on 20 different occasions at the vicarage of St Matthias’ Church in Stoke Newington in London and in a choir practice room.
Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Hannah Stewart, said: “It was extremely traumatic for the victim to relive his ordeal after so many years. Through his brave determination, his evidence – given to detectives during hours of meticulous interviews, and at court – enabled the conviction of Rowe for these serious sexual offences. This conviction is a fitting tribute to the courage of the victim, who sadly died during these proceedings.”
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