Mark Burgess, born 18 March 1953, was a former teacher and choirmaster who was found guilty of sexually abusing 12 boys and a girl over three decades. At the time of the trial he lived in St Chad’s Avenue, Hilsea, Portsmouth. He worked as a teacher at Portsmouth City Boy’s School and ran choirs at St John’s Church in Westbourne and All Saints Church in Commercial Road.
Mark Burgess was found guilty of sexually abusing 12 boys and a girl. The paedophile sexually abused the children during piano lessons at his home address or in the church vestry, in his car, in a rented garage, on choir trips and in the school music room. The offences took place between 1976 and 2009
He was found guilty on 28 May 2021 of 48 offences relating to 13 children, who were all under the age of 16.
The 48 guilty verdicts comprised of the following:
- 1 count of Attempt to indecently assault
- 27 counts of Indecent Assault
- 14 counts of Gross Indecency
- 4 counts of Buggery
- 2 counts of sexual activity with a child
After his conviction, but before sentencing, Mark Burgess denied the guilty verdicts, stating that the trial process had been unfair.
Mark Burgess was sentenced, on 30 June 2021, to 40 years. He will serve a minimum of 21 years before being considered for parole.
Detective Inspector Adam Edwards said: "Burgess made a choice to exploit his position and manipulate certain scenarios that would give him the opportunity to carry out these heinous and evil acts.
"These were young children, and he deliberately preyed on their naivety for his own sordid agenda. He is now behind bars, where he belongs, for a very long time.
"The survivors in this case have shown an incredible amount of bravery and strength throughout this entire process, which has ensured that the cowardly man who sat in the dock can't hurt another person again.
"Their courage is to be commended. I am pleased that justice has now been served and these brave individuals have had their voices heard after years of keeping this abuse secret."
“Burgess brutally abused his position of trust at the cruel expense of his victims' wellbeing.
"This case shows that perpetrators of child abuse can be brought to justice, no matter how long ago or who they are, and we hope that this sentencing allows the survivors to move on with their lives."
Church of England Statement
The Church of England Portsmouth Diocese, where Burgess worked as an organist and choirmaster until 1992, described Burgess' abuse of trust as "abhorrent".
Diocese of Chichester Statement
A spokesman for the Diocese of Chichester said it was a "matter of deep shame" that offending happened while he was a choirmaster in West Sussex - a position he held until 2010.
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