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Former director of music of Rochester Cathedral pleads guilty to sex offences

31 May 2019

Review examining circumstances is to be held, says Dean


Cambridge Magistrates’ Court

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court

A FORMER director of music of Rochester Cathedral, William Scott Farrell, has pleaded guilty to a number of sexual offences.

Mr Farrell, aged 48, of Rochester, appeared at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency with a boy under 16 (relating to three different victims), all committed in the diocese of Ely, where he was assistant organist of Ely Cathedral from 1999 until 2002, and to two counts of voyeurism and one count of taking indecent images of a child, committed in Rochester.

Statements were issued from both cathedrals.

A statement from the Dean of Rochester, the Very Revd Philip Hesketh, said: “We are truly sorry to these victims for what has happened and for what they have experienced. We commend the bravery of those who came forward with these allegations, and acknowledge how difficult and distressing this would have been.”

Mr Farrell had been suspended as soon as the cathedral became aware of the original allegation, he said, and had resigned in November 2018. “We have liaised closely with the police and all the statutory authorities throughout the investigation.

“A review will be carried out which will examine the circumstances of these offences and how the Church responded, as we want to learn to help prevent abuse taking place here or to anyone in our care. We continue to pray for all those affected by this matter.”

A statement from the Dean of Ely, the Very Revd Mark Bonney, said: “This is a deeply upsetting situation for all concerned, especially the victims and survivors and their families. . . The safeguarding of children and all within the cathedral community remains our priority, and we will continue to ensure that all appropriate safeguards are in place at all times.”

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