Man feared no-one would believe his abuse claims

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A MAN who claims he was abused by a youth leader as a child says he was too scared to tell anyone at the time.

The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told a jury at Portsmouth Crown Court that he feared no-one would believe him because Terence Cawte was a respected member of the community.

Cawte 74, the former captain of Leigh Park Boys’ Brigade, and then owner of The Portsmouth Christian Book Centre in New Road, North End, denies abusing two boys between the 1970s and 1990s.

Yesterday the jury was shown a recording of a police interview with the man, now in his 30s, who accuses Cawte of abusing him from the age of five up to 16.

He said: ‘He was abusing me. I have only just let the cat out of the bag to my parents.

‘At the time I thought it was okay to do that.

‘Everybody had faith in him. I always remember Terry’s words were “you mustn’t tell anybody about this because you could get into trouble”.

‘His words were always “you mustn’t tell anybody”.

‘I didn’t want to tell mum and dad what he was really like. I couldn’t say anything, I wasn’t allowed to say anything.’

He added: ‘Everybody in Leigh Park, the Boys’ Brigade, the church, everybody knows Terry Cawte.

‘They know what he does for charity.

‘Who would believe me if I turned around and said he was messing with me?

‘His words were always “you mustn’t tell anybody because you will get in serious trouble if you tell anybody”.’

Married father-of-three Cawte, who attended Leigh Park Methodist Church and raised money for charity, is accused of abusing two youngsters at his home in Waterlooville and at his former bookshop.

The second alleged victim, who is now in his 40s, says he was aged 13 to 15 when Cawte abused him in the 1970s, when Cawte lived in Forest Close, Waterlooville.

Cawte, of Maytree Gardens, Waterlooville, denies five multiple incident counts of indecent assault on a male, one of indecency with a child and two other sexual offences.

(Proceeding)