Band leader ex­ploited his po­si­tion to abuse teen boy

South Wales Evening Post - - LETTERS - JA­SON EVANS @Evans­the­crime • 01792 545549 ja­[email protected]­line.co.uk

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.

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