Amateur theatre director sentenced for abusing young performers
An amateur theatre practitioner from Northamptonshire has been jailed for a series of sexual offences against young performers.
Christopher Lynch (38), from Kettering, used the amateur theatre companies he ran or was involved with to lure teenage girls into vulnerable positions, where he sexually abused them.
He invited victims to auditions or workshops for what he claimed were productions and a film at the Edinburgh Festival. On each occasion he persuaded them to ‘audition’ without anyone else present and forced them into sexual activity on the pretext that it was part of the production.
He used the lure of being cast in an appealing production to coerce victims into situations where they were vulnerable and isolated. Once he was alone with victims he was ruthless in the tactics he used to make them believe that the abuse was normal and submit to it. Most of his victims were 16 or under.
Read more about how the CPS brought the case to trial in September.
Lynch was convicted in September 2021 of 11 offences against five victims over a five-year period. He was today sentenced to 16 years in prison with an extended licence of 8 years.
The CPS showed the court that his offending had been consistent and continuous and that he presented a danger to the community because of his relentless exploitation of young women.
Liz Fell of the CPS said: “Christopher Lynch posed as an enthusiastic theatre practitioner, giving young performers the opportunity to join creative projects and productions. The reality is he is a dangerous sexual predator who has now been stopped in his tracks, thanks to the courage of his victims in coming forward.
“Lynch preyed on the vulnerability of young girls keen to pursue their passion for performing. The evidence given at trial by the survivors showed he was following a pattern of repeat offending, targeting young people he could manipulate for his own gratification. His offences had a devastating impact on the survivors.
“Some of these offences happened some years ago, but this case shows this is not a barrier to justice. We are determined to seek justice for survivors of abuse like the victims in this case. If you have been subjected to any kind of abuse, please come forward – you will be heard.”
Notes to editors
- Liz Fell is a Senior Crown Prosecutor from CPS East Midlands's rape and serious sexual offences team
- Christopher Lynch was given ten prison terms varying between 18 months and six years to serve concurrently, and 10 years to serve consecutively for the count of rape.