Drama group founder convicted of multiple sexual assaults
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A 38-year-old man who sexually abused teenage girls linked to a theatre group he ran in Kettering is facing imprisonment after a jury convicted him on 11 counts of sexual abuse.
Northampton Crown Court was told that Christopher Lynch carried out a reign of abuse, including rape and sexual assault, against a number of girls between 2013 and 2017.
Lynch, previously of St Stephens Road, Kettering, had been running an amateur dramatics company in the town, but used it as an opportunity to target vulnerable young girls who had an interest in acting.
Jurors were told he used his position to his advantage, sexually assaulting his victims, during one-to-one auditions.
He actively avoided having chaperones present, ensuring he and each victim were alone in the room. He held the auditions in private rooms in a church, a youth centre, and at his own home address.
On all occasions, his victims, who were aged between 15 and 19 at the time, were led to believe he would help them further their acting careers.
In one case, the court was told, he had visited the home of a victim to discuss a play and used this opportunity to sexually assault her.
Lynch’s abuse only came to light after the victims mentioned what had happened to either family members, friends, or professionals – in some cases months or years later - who then contacted Northamptonshire Police. The complaints were all independent, and none of the victims knew each other.
After a ten-day trial, Lynch was today (Wednesday, September 29) found guilty of one count of rape, three counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual activity with a child.
He was also found guilty of two charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one of facilitating and commissioning a child sex offence. He was found not guilty of one sexual assault.
Lead investigator, Detective Constable Laura Mannion, from the Force’s Child Protection Team, said: “I am pleased that Christopher Lynch has today been found guilty and that he will shortly be sentenced for the crimes he committed.
“This has been a lengthy and complex investigation, which wouldn’t have been possible without the bravery and determination of all the victims and witnesses to bring this man to justice. They never wavered in their support for the investigation, and each one faced their fear and gave evidence against him, as he made them endure a trial, trying to maintain his innocence with a web of lies.
“Lynch was in a position of trust. He set up a theatre company so he had opportunities to prey on young females. In the majority of these cases, he sexually abused these females when they were at their most vulnerable, when they had aspirations to be actresses, and his assaults against them stopped them in their tracks when they were trying to pursue their dreams.
“The victims and witnesses are collectively responsible for Christopher Lynch being brought to justice for his crimes, and in doing so, they have prevented him harming other people in this way. They should be forever proud of their actions. I hope today’s result allows them some sense of closure so they can begin to move on with their lives, ones that have undoubtably been put on hold during this investigation.
“I also hope others reading this who have been in similar situations will be encouraged by this to come forward and report crimes of this nature to the police. Northamptonshire Police will listen to you and support you.”
Judge Rebecca Crane adjourned sentencing until November 15, 202, and Lynch was remanded into custody ahead of the hearing.
Find advice and support, including on how to report rape or sexual assault, here: https://www.northants.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/
*This press release and custody image have been released with the support and agreement of the victims*