“Monster” Choirmaster convicted of sexual abuse

June 8th, 2021

Mark Burgess, 68, of St Chads Avenue, Hilsea, Portsmouth, was convicted at Portsmouth Crown Court of 48 counts of sexual abuse against 12 young boys and one girl between 1976 and 2009.

Judge William Ashworth warned Burgess that he could expect to receive a “lengthy custodial sentence”.  The trial, which ran for 12 weeks, heard that Burgess committed the abuse of the children whilst he was a choirmaster at All Saints Church, Commercial Road, Portsmouth, and also St John’s Church, Westbourne, West Sussex.  The court was told that Burgess would take advantage of his positions of trust within these churches.  The abuse would then take place during piano lessons at Burgess’ home, the church vestry in Burgess’ car or on Choir trips. The complainants recalled being plied by Burgess with cigarettes and alcohol. 

The offences came to light after a number of Burgess’ victims, all now adults, came forward and reported the abuse to the Police.  Some of the survivors of Burgess’ abuse issued a joint statement which began  “The extent of Mark Burgess’ abuse on all of us has been shocking and has turned our world upside down…” 

Detective Inspector Adam Edwards, who led the investigation said: “I want to commend the bravery of all the survivors who came forward to speak to police about this abuse” “…their courage and commitment to bringing Mark Burgess to justice has ensured that he will be rightly punished for these horrific crimes”.

Burgess has been remanded in custody until 30 June 2021 when he will reappear for sentencing.  Verisona Law has a very deserved reputation as one of the country’s best known specialists in child abuse law.  If anyone has been affected by the issues in this case and would like to discuss their legal rights in seeking redress then please do not hesitate to speak to our award winning team, who will be able to speak to you about your rights in complete confidence.