Portsmouth choirboy tells jury he was 'scared' as choirmaster abused him and asked: 'Did you enjoy that?'

A FORMER choirboy has told jurors he was ‘scared’ while being fondled by his choirmaster only to be then asked: ‘Did you enjoy that?’

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 1:42 pm

The young chorister, aged around 12 or 13 at the time, told Portsmouth Crown Court he was ‘very afraid’ as Mark Burgess went ‘further again’ each time he was abused.

Former teacher Burgess, 67, is on trial and denies 52 child sex offences against 13 children between 1976 and 2009.

Jurors have heard the Portsmouth City Boys School music teacher was a choirmaster at St John the Baptist Church in Westbourne, and at All Saints Church in Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

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Former choirmaster Mark Burgess, 67, of St Chad's Avenue, Hilsea, is on trial at Portsmouth Crown Court accused of 52 child sex offences on 16 March 2021. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Giving evidence in a police-recorded video played to the jury, one of the former choirboys said Burgess would give him money.

Burgess was ‘playful’ and ‘sort of took on that dad role’ for the choristers, he said.

He said the first time anything happened, Burgess was sitting next to him at the piano at All Saints Church telling him to move his hands ‘this way and that’.

The man said Burgess then started ‘rubbing his hand up and down my leg’ for 20 to 30 seconds.

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The man who said he was ‘scared’ added: ‘Then he touched my between my legs and started to fondle me, and I didn’t say anything because I was so shy and didn’t really understand what was going on and just let that happen.

‘And then nothing. So I didn’t think anything really happened after that. He didn’t unzip my trousers or anything.’

Afterwards Burgess then said: ‘Did you enjoy that?’

‘I don’t think I commented,’ the man told police.

He added: ‘That was the first occasion. I went home and I was, just a bit, sort of, I don’t know. Suppose because I’m shy and reserved anyway, my mum and dad probably didn’t think anything of it.’

Burgess ‘went further’ on another occasion, the court heard. He said: ‘He stood me up and then started to play with me even more.’

He added: ‘I just froze, I didn’t know what to do and that was it on that occasion.

‘I left and went home and thought after the few occasions, “is this going to happen every time?” I didn’t want to tell anybody.

‘I was very afraid, I was only a child, I didn’t know what to do.’

The next time Burgess went ‘further again when he made me touch him,’ the man said.

Asked by police if there were three incidents, he said: ‘Definitely a lot, lot more.’

Burgess would give ‘a bit of money’ to the boy, he said.

Burgess, of St Chad’s Avenue, Hilsea, denies 27 charges of indecent assault, 17 of gross indecency with a child, five of buggery, two of sexual activity with a child and one attempted indecent assault.

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