June 2017

Predatory rapist jailed for blackmailing teenagers into sex

A predatory rapist who blackmailed young gay teenagers into sex decades ago will likely die in prison.

Gerard Browne, former owner of Widnes based coaching firm GJB Coaches, raped one boy from the age of 13 and threatened to post revealing photos of him to his parents if he refused sex in a campaign of abuse.

The second victim, who was struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, was raped on the back of one of Browne’s coaches in his late teens, and was also told his family would be told if he fought back.

The now 79-year-old, walking with the aid of a stick, was jailed for 14 years at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday for nine counts of indecent assault, three of rape and one of taking indecent images of a child.

Browne, of the Beaconsfield in Prescot, denied the offences and claimed the boys were willing sexual partners, but a jury saw through his lies and convicted him last month.

A moving victim personal statement from the second man, read in court, said: “(Browne) planned and executed a campaign of abuse that destroyed my innocence, my work and my life.

“He used my sexuality as a tool of manipulation and blackmail against me a a time when I was living with the fear and turmoil of coming to terms with my sexuality.”

Henry Riding, prosecuting, had told the jury Browne met the boys separately through another boy, who had performed sexual acts for money in Manchester’s gay village in the 1980s.

He said if the offences had occurred under modern law they would have been treated as grooming, as the boys were treated to coach trips and given alcohol.

The court heard the older boy confided in a family friend about the abuse who said he seemed “completely at a loss” at how to deal with the situation and was terrified his parents would find out.

But the abuse came to light in 2015 when one of the men came forward, mentioning the second victim in his evidence.

The other man was contacted by police “to his surprise” but agreed to speak out.

The victim’s statement continued: “What Gerard Browne did was not only to violate my body, he violated my life.

“He treated me like I was his prostitute and in doing so insulted my character and my family.”

The court heard the man had suffered years of depression, psychotic episodes and had once attempted suicide.

He said: “Coming to terms with my sexuality was very confusing and painful as it often is for gays and lesbian coming out.

“The era in which I began that process, with the actions of Gerard Browne, made it even more harrowing.”

The first victim, who did not wish to make a statement, had described struggling to come to terms with the abuse and “locking it away in my mind.”

Judge Rachel Smith, passing sentence, told him: “In my judgement it is entirely clear that (the victims) were coerced, overborne and blackmailed by you.

The court heard Browne had a previous conviction for indecently assaulting an under-age boy, which the jury were unaware of when he was found guilty.

He was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

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