December 2017

Former choirmaster jailed for sex offences against choirboys

An 82-year-old man has been jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to historic sex offences against choirboys.

Former choirmaster and organist Robert Kalton was extradited from his home in Portugal earlier this year to face charges relating to his abuse of young boys during the seventies and eighties.

He was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Friday after admitting to 15 counts of indecency with a child and indecent assault on a male.

The court heard that Kalton’s crimes were committed against two victims when he was living in Thorpe Arnold, near Melton, and a third young boy when he previously lived in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Richard Thatcher, prosecuting, said: “They were all boys at the time of the offences when this defendant was a choirmaster.”

He said Kalton seemed to “pay more attention to the boys” and was “very tactile with them” whilst not encouraging girls to join the choir.

Mr Thatcher said that the defendant used the victims’ “keenness to learn” to draw them to his home, which one described as being “like a boys club”.

Kalton also relied on his reputation as a gifted teacher and their parents’ naivety to engineer time alone with the boys and would “groom” them with praise to win their confidence.

The court heard that in each case “congratulatory hugs and kisses” would often lead to intimate touching and sexual activity, however, he added that this did not involve intercourse.

In 1988, the defendant was convicted of a serious sexual offence on a boy and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Mr Thatcher said: “These matters, however, did not come to light at the time, the complainants indicating that they would have lied at the time to avoid the embarrassment of revealing what had happened to them.”

Victim impact statements on behalf of the three complainants, who eventually summoned the courage to come forward to the police as adults, were read out in court.

They all describe the loneliness and confusion they felt at the time of the sexual abuse, and the feeling that they had “no-one to turn to” who would believe them.

Each of the complainants also described having difficulty with intimacy and developing mature relationships as adults which in some cases led to other problems such as alcoholism.

One said: “My childhood was one long series of abuse. I had very low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”

Another said: “Kalton took my childhood away and it’s had an effect on my whole life.”

The third said that the guilt felt by his mother over the sexual abuse he endured was “unbearable to see” and that, together with feelings of shame, had led to a breakdown in this and other important relationships.

In mitigation, Andrew Bolc (CORR), defending, said Kalton had been a victim of sexual abuse himself whilst at the hands of an older boy whilst at boarding school.

He said: “My client, through me, would like to express his sincere apologies to his victims for what he describes as his ‘unacceptable behaviour towards them’.

Mr Bolc said Kalton had outlived his late wife and two of his three children and was now a vulnerable old man.

He said: “He is exhibiting the early signs of Parkinson’s disease and fears what the future holds for him.”

He added that his inappropriate sexual behaviour towards young boys had ended with his incarceration in 1988 and that he was no longer a danger.

Judge Nicholas Dean QC handed Kalton a nine-year sentence, eight of which will be in prison with an extra year on licence.

He said: “In the 1970s and 80s you were a choirmaster. During that period you were a serial abuser of young boys.

“The harm you have caused has been profound.”

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