November 2018

Church organist who sexually assaulted choir boy is spared jail

A church organist who sexually assaulted a choir boy when he was himself a teenager has been given a suspended jail term.

Chris Ransome, 64, was 18 when he abused the 11-year-old child after putting his hand down his sleeping bag when they were next to one another on camp beds during a church outing.

Ransome, of Southdown Road, Baildon, was convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Court last month of a single charge of indecent assault 46 years ago.

He was a church organist and choirmaster at a church in Bradford when he committed the offence on a choir trip.

The complainant, now a middle-aged man, told his future wife what Ransome had done and went to the church authorities in 2016.

The jury was told that, although he did not face further charges, Ransome had driven the boy to secluded locations when he was aged 12 to 14 and committed a sex act in front of him on three or four occasions.

During the sentencing hearing on Friday, a victim personal statement from the complainant said he buried the memory of what had happened to him.

He felt dirty and ashamed and had been left with issues surrounding trust and a fear of being controlled.

The court heard that Ransome was otherwise a man of impeccable character.

He had been a parish organist in Wetherby for ten years and was well respected in the local community.

Recorder Patrick Palmer sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 100 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement.

Ransome must sign on the sex offender register for ten years.