Former Stoke Choir Master jailed after being found guilty of child sexual offences

A Choir Master from Stoke-on-Trent been jailed after he was found guilty of child sexual offences.

Michael Rhodes, 84, of Oakhill, Stoke-on-Trent, was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault and sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment at Stafford Crown Court on Thursday 18 November.

The offences were reported in November 2020 and an investigation by the force’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences team began.

Rhodes was a Choir Master at St Peter Ad Vincula, now called Stoke Minster, at the time the offences were committed. The offences took place in Stoke-on-Trent between 1977 and 1983.

Rhodes was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life

Detective Sergeant Dawn Moody, of the force’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences team, said: “Rhodes demonstrated predatory behaviour and groomed his victim whilst he was in a position of trust.

“I would like to praise the victim for their courage in coming forward and having the trust in Staffordshire Police to investigate these offences.

“The courage it takes to do this cannot be understated. I hope that they can find some closure now that proceedings have concluded.”

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Lichfield said: “We were upset and saddened to hear about Mr Rhodes’ terrible crimes which we thoroughly condemn. Mr Rhodes has not been part of the congregation at Stoke Minster for many years but was known locally, so this news has come as a shock to worshippers there.

“The safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is something that we take very seriously. We want everyone to be able to worship in a loving, caring and safe atmosphere which is why safeguarding is so important to us. If anyone has any concerns they can contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team on 01543 306147.”

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