Leicester Musician jailed for child sex offences
A former Leicester musician, convicted of raping five vulnerable teenagers, as well as a string of other sexual offences against underage girls, has been jailed.
Cassius Povey, 29, targeted young girls between 2010 and 2016, most of whom he met socialising at the city’s Clock Tower, a popular place for young people who followed indie music to meet up. He used his status as an older person and a guitarist in a band to impress them and appear like someone they should admire. Once he got to know them, he groomed them and exploited their vulnerability. In some cases, he went on to have consenting relationships with his victims after he had raped them. In others, he raped them whilst in a relationship.
The extent of Povey’s abuse became known when a survivor posted on social media accusing Povey of sexual abuse. The subsequent comments revealed a pattern of sexual abuse against young girls over a six-year period. Eight young women reported that Povey had engaged in sexual activity with them while they were children. Four of those victims made allegations of rape and a further victim disclosed that she had been raped by Povey when she was 19.
Povey used a high level of emotional manipulation to influence these young girls. He targeted girls who were lacking confidence, who had difficult family relationships, wellbeing issues or both, preying on their individual vulnerability.
Povey was a sexual predator using social media, emotional manipulation, anger and even violence to get what he wanted. He convinced the victims of various lies. One victim was told the encounter had been consensual before raping her again, another told that the attacks were because he was not in control of himself, due to a personality disorder, and his “evil twin” took over.
Povey admitted the sexual activity with underage girls and pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one of meeting a child following sexual grooming. He denied the offences of rape and was tried at Leicester Crown Court. He was found guilty of eight counts of rape following a trial in January and today sentenced to 17 years imprisonment, with a three-year extended licence.
Matthew Thomas from the CPS said: “Cassius Povey preyed relentlessly on young, vulnerable girls, taking advantage of their vulnerability. He knew his lifestyle as a musician, with a wide circle of friends, would be appealing and he exploited this. Despite appearing friendly and even empathetic, he had no thought for the well-being of his victims, taking what he wanted from them regardless of the impact on their young lives. His age and status put him in a position of trust to these young people, which he abused, ruthlessly grooming them and taking steps to convince them that he was not abusing them.
“We have set out to demonstrate that in all these instances there was no consent, regardless of what happened between them beforehand or afterwards. These survivors have had to revisit some of the darkest times in their lives. Povey’s actions had a profound impact on them and I am grateful that they have come forward, explained the awful reality of what happened to them and that we have been able to show Cassius Povey for what he is – a serious sexual predator.
"Today's sentence reflects the level of manipulation and abuse these survivors suffered at Cassius Povey's hands.”
Building the case
When prosecuting cases of rape, the fundamental issue is whether the victim consented, or whether the defendant could have reasonably believed they were consenting. Evidence from the survivor, detailing what happened to them is therefore extremely important. In this instance, these survivors were recounting events from some years previously. We have reassured these survivors throughout that survivors do not have to recall every single detail when giving their account. The purpose of their evidence is to demonstrate to the jury that they had not consented to sex.
This case raised complex issues in relation to consent. Due to the way the victims were manipulated by Cassius Povey, they believed that they somehow must have consented because they continued relationships with him. This is one of many myths surrounding rape and the CPS built its case to demonstrate that on the occasion in question, there was no consent and that it is not relevant what happened before or after.
On some occasions, survivors reported that they had frozen and had not resisted. We have given these accounts to the jury, whilst making it clear that there is no obligation for a victim to use physical resistance to show they do not consent and submission does not mean consent.
Another of the rape myths and stereotypes we have been keen to dismiss throughout the conduct of this case is any focus on the young victims’ lifestyle choices. These young people may have made lifestyle choices that some may think were inappropriate for their age. We have been clear that this has no bearing on whether they were abused by Cassius Povey. Lifestyle choices do not mean a victim of sexual offences is responsible for their abuse. If anything this can make them more vulnerable to exploitation. We have been clear throughout that the prosecution’s case is about Cassius Povey’s behaviour and choices and he alone is responsible for the abuse.
Povey’s offending was initially highlighted by a post on social media, with survivors adding comments that they had experienced similar abuse. While this kind of disclosure can be used in defence to suggest that a group of people have colluded together to fabricate allegations, the CPS used this, and evidence of earlier disclosures, to demonstrate a pattern of behaviour in Povey’s abuse, including raping young vulnerable girls while they were incapacitated and manipulating them afterwards; use of violence and forcing himself onto victims when they were in a vulnerable position.
The CPS relied on a large number of messages and social media posts from Povey to friends and victims that corroborated what the survivors say he was doing to them and demonstrated his attitude and behaviour towards the girls he was abusing.
To enable the witnesses to give their best evidence, the CPS applied to the court for special measures to support them and make giving evidence less daunting. Witnesses were able to give their evidence using screens, video recorded evidence and even by video link from the local sexual assault referral centre, away from the court building.
Notes to editors
- Matthew Thomas is a Senior Crown Prosecutor from the East Midlands rape and serious sexual offences team.