Man jailed for child sexual offences in 1970s - Hertford and Bishops Stortford

16/03/2015

A retired choirmaster appeared at St Albans Crown Court today, Monday, 16 March 2015, and was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting two teenage boys in the mid 70s.

Andrew Teague, aged 63, formerly of Pasture Lane, Clayton, Bradford, and now living in France, was sentenced after pleading guilty to three counts of indecent assault.  In addition to the custodial sentence, Teague was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for six years, he is barred from working with children and his name will be added to the Sex Offenders' Register.

Teague lived in Hertfordshire during the mid-1970s where he worked as the organist for choirs in All Saints Church, Hertford, and for the Bishop's Stortford choir. He also worked as a private music teacher basing himself in Hertford. It was during this time the offences were committed.

One of his victims, aged 51, lives abroad and gave a disturbing statement about Teague's predatory behaviour and how it has damaged his life. Teague had taken the opportunity to sexually abuse him when he worked in Hertford and was giving him private music lessons in his rented flat.

The second victim, who also had looked up to Teague, was abused on a choir coach trip returning to Bishop's Stortford and again remains deeply affected by what happened.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved sexual activity between a choirmaster, who is now 63-years-old, and two boys, who were aged 13-14 at the time of the offences between July and October 1975.

"As the choirmaster, Andrew Teague abused his position of trust and took advantage of his status to prey on young boys and sexually abuse them for his own sexual gratification.  It is only due to the great courage of the victims that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed.  I would like to pay tribute to them for their strength and tenacity in coming forward.

"Teague denied any sexual wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct, but on the first day of his trial on 02 February 2015, at St Albans Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault.  He pleaded not guilty to three further counts of indecent assault, possession of indecent photographs and possessing an extreme pornographic image.  After consultation with the victims, the pleas were accepted and the remaining counts left to lie on file.

"The conviction and today's sentence serves as an important message to people who have been the victim of crimes such as these, or those that know such crimes are being committed, that they should come forward and that time is no barrier to justice.  The CPS will work closely with partners, as we did with Hertfordshire Constabulary in this case, to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

"The emotional impact, on the victims and their families, of the abhorrent actions of this man is impossible to quantify. I hope that the conviction and sentence gives some small comfort to them.  Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

DC Helen Richmond, who led the investigation, said: "Teague is an arrogant man who evaded justice most of his adult life. He abused these boys for his own gratification without a second thought of the impact of his actions. The sentence he received today reflects his significant breach of trust and betrayal of two impressionable victims who had been intrusted into his care.

"In both cases the victims suffered severe emotional and psychological trauma as a result of the abuse but after decades of suffering in silence they have seen justice done today."

DC Richmond added: "This case has clearly shown that the impact of child abuse can last for a life-time and I hope the public will be reassured that Hertfordshire Constabulary will pursue and investigate predatory sex offenders."

After the verdict was given, the second of Teague's victims, who lives in Hertfordshire, said: "No matter how long ago you are a victim of a crime like this it continues to have a significant impact on your life. The support I have had over the past 18 months has been incredible and I want other victims of historic abuse to be confident about coming forward and telling the police what has happened to them regardless of the passage of time.

"People like Andrew Teague don't ever take responsibility for their shocking behaviour and assume they can do what they like because they have positions of authority which they believe put them beyond the law. He assumed I would not say anything and I would keep his secret all my life because he was more important than me. Andrew Teague was wrong.

"This has been hanging over me for the past 40 years and it feels very empowering to see justice finally catch up with a man. A new chapter in my life starts today."