Band leader exploited his position to abuse teen boy
A BAND leader with a military cadet unit exploited his position to sexually abuse a young boy, a court has heard.
Former soldier Philip Pryor groomed the boy with alcohol and cigarettes before sexually assaulting him – then told his young victim nobody would believe the boy if he reported what was going on because his abuser was a respected member of the community.
The victim kept his silence for years until he saw publicity around the abuse of young football players, and decided to go to police.
Swansea Crown Court heard that the complaint led to a police investigation – which also found 65-year-old Pryor had downloaded indecent images on a British Legion computer, and searched the internet for pictures of child abuse involving schoolboys.
Robin Rouch, prosecuting, said Pryor was a band leader with the Army cadet unit in Burry Port Carmarthenshire, at the time of the abuse.
The defendant was an accomplished musician, having played with a regimental band while in the Army, and the cadet band attracted youngsters from across South West Wales.
The court heard that Pryor allowed cadets to have alcohol and cigarettes, something that “had its attractions for the boys”.
On a number of occasions Pryor turned the Philip Pryor from Burry Port was sentenced to two-and-a-half years for sexually abusing a boy.
kitchen of the band hut into a “makeshift sauna” by boiling pans of water, and sealing the door and windows with towels.
He would then take his clothes off, and encourage boys to do the same.
Pryor would then sexually touch one of the naked youngsters. He also sexually assaulted the same boy in a shower.
The court heard Pryor told his victim, who was aged around 14, not to tell anyone about what was happening – adding that even if he did report it, nobody would believe him.
Mr Rouch said the abuse remained hidden for many years – then in 2016 the victim saw a TV programme about the sexual abuse of boys by a football coach, and it “triggered something in his mind”.
The victim confided in a friend, then contacted the children’s charity NSPCC, and later the police.
Pryor was arrested in January 2017 and denied the allegations – a stance he maintained until his day of trial.
The prosecutor said as part of their investigation police seized the computer Pryor used in his role as a branch secretary for the British Legion veterans charity – on it they found three indecent images of boys which had been downloaded on August 31, 2015, and internet searches for “schoolboy pornography”.
Pryor, of Llys y Llyfrgell, Burry Port, had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault on a male, and one count of possession of indecent images when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.
He has no previous convictions.
In an impact statement read to the court, the victim described how the abuse had left him feeling “dirty and ashamed”, and affected his confidence throughout his life.
He also said he felt “embarrassed” that he had not been able to say anything sooner than he had.
Frank Phillips, for Pryor, said the defendant’s guilty plea had avoided the necessity of the victim giving evidence in court – though he conceded it had come late in the day.
He said since the abuse had come to light his client had been a virtual recluse in his home, and was in extremely poor physical health.
Judge Geraint Walters told Pryor he had been in a position of trust as band leader, a position he had abused.
He said it had required courage for the victim to come forward, and it perhaps emphasised the damage the abuse had done that it had taken so many years for him to do so.
The judge said: “What you did to him effectively never left him. He is ever mindful of it. That underlines the wickedness of taking advantage of children by somebody who should know better, and who is in a position of trust.”
For each of the three indecent assault charges Pryor was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, and for the possession of the images to three months – all the sentences will run concurrently, making an overall sentence of two-and-a-half years.
Pryor will be on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life, and is subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.