Former head of music at Cobham Free School, 42, jailed for raping a nine-year-old boy in the 1990s


The former head of music at a top school in Surrey has been jailed for sexually abusing a young boy as a teenager almost thirty years ago.

Chris Pearson, 42, who attended the Royal College of Music, lost his career in 2017 when he was separately arrested on suspicion of ‘grooming’ girls at Cobham Free School.

He got a job as a train guard with South Western Railway but is now starting a seven-year sentence for abusing a nine-year-old boy in the 1990s.

Married father of two, Pearson, of Beaconsfield Road, Chatham, Kent, was found unanimously guilty of three counts of rape and one count of indecency with a child.

The Croydon Crown Court jury unanimously found him not guilty on another count of indecency with a child.

The abuse of the boy took place between June 1995 and July 1997 at his parents’ home in Beaumont Road, Petts Wood, Orpington.

The former head of music at a top school in Surrey has been jailed for sexually abusing a young boy as a teenager almost thirty years ago. Chris Pearson (pictured), 42, who attended the Royal College of Music, lost his career in 2017 when he was arrested separately on suspicion of ‘grooming’ girls at Cobham Free School

Judge Deborah Charles told Pearson today (Thursday): ‘You repeatedly raped him. During his testimony in court, he said he thought he had been raped a dozen times.

“At the time you raped him, he didn’t realize what you were doing to him was wrong.

“You had been nursing him on the pretext of playing games, having to guess what piece of music was playing.

“He felt mentally tormented and the package was a wrestling game, where you held him, sat on him and pulled his head back until he cried out in agony and begged for mercy.

“It was not a one-time experiment. It wasn’t just impulsive behavior.

“You planned what you were doing and used the appearance of a wrestling game to induce sexual contact.

“There is no evidence or remorse that the court could consider. He had no ax to hold against you, there had been no falling out.

In his victim impact statement, the plaintiff said he was coming forward to get rid of the “demons” that had “plagued his life” for twenty-five years.

He suffered ‘flashbacks’ and ‘triggers’ of childhood memories he would rather forget and spoke of ‘years of pain’ because of Pearson.

Prosecutor Richard Job told the jury that Pearson was fifteen to sixteen years old and that the victim regularly visited his family between the ages of nine and eleven.

The plaintiff was not a relative, but spent time in Pearson’s teenage room at the defendant’s invitation, initially for the sake of wrestling.

“The accused invited him to his room to play wrestling with him because the WWF was very popular at the time.

“The defendant would try his last wrestling moves on the youngest and weakest child,” Mr Job added.

The victim told the jury he was shorter than Pearson and would be ‘forced into submission’ during the wrestling sessions and ‘scream in pain’.

Pearson also enjoyed demanding that the young boy “beg for mercy” for the court to hear.

“There may have been physical bullying, but he was also sexually abused, forced to lie on the bed and raped for the defendant’s sexual pleasure.

“The accused also asked the young boy to play intimately with him on several occasions.

“The defendant took advantage of his youth and naivety, not appreciating the enormity of what was happening.

Pearson taught at Cobham Free School (pictured) until 2017 when he was arrested on suspicion of

Pearson taught at Cobham Free School (pictured) until 2017 when he was arrested on suspicion of ‘grooming’ girls

“In his teens, the complainant admitted he had been abused and felt shame and disgust.”

The jury was told that the plaintiff first revealed what happened to his half-brother in 2017 and that the police were then informed.

Officers then questioned Pearson. “He made a full denial,” the prosecutor said.

Pearson, who was supported by his sister throughout the trial, told the jury he had never had any issues and was a man of good character.

He claimed that his parents would have easily heard screams coming from his room. “They preferred the doors to always be open and they usually were.”

There was also a home intercom system, he testified at trial, easily allowing his mother to hear what was going on in his room.

Pearson denied struggling with the boy and inflicting pain on him, insisting his parents had a strict rule against visiting children going upstairs.

“He never saw me naked and that didn’t happen to me,” he told the jury.

The judge asked why there were no references from fellow teachers on Pearson’s behalf, given his professional academic background.

Pearson graduated from the Birmingham Conservatory with a degree in music in 2002.

Before taking up his post at Cobham Free School, he taught music at Longfield Academy, Kent and was Curriculum Manager for the Performing Arts at Bacon’s College, Rotherhithe.

Lucy Organ, defending, said: ‘Surrey Police investigated an allegation of schoolgirl grooming via email. They were wayward and overly friendly and non-sexual.

Married father of two, Pearson, of Beaconsfield Road, Chatham, Kent, was found unanimously guilty of three counts of rape and one count of indecency with a child.  The Croydon Crown Court jury unanimously found him not guilty of another count of indecency with a child

Married father of two, Pearson, of Beaconsfield Road, Chatham, Kent, was found unanimously guilty of three counts of rape and one count of indecency with a child. The Croydon Crown Court jury unanimously found him not guilty of another count of indecency with a child

“Mr. Pearson was arrested and questioned and there was no further action.

“There were emails addressed to women between the ages of fifteen and sixteen that were not sexual in nature.

“They were inappropriate in quantity and timing, sent out late at night and showing some kind of favour, like helping a pupil become Head Girl.

“He admits he went too far in helping two students. He is no longer a teacher, he lost his job in 2017.

“Twenty-five years have passed since the offence,” Ms Organ added.

“He has no further offenses and that means he is unlikely to re-offend with something very unlikely to happen again.”

“He established himself as a family man and was able to lead a useful life, despite his offenses in his youth.

“He was a child when the offenses were committed, which is very difficult to imagine when you have a forty-two-year-old man in front of you.

“He’s still a musician and his wife is here to support him in court today and they have a five-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son.”

Pearson was made aware of the allegation in 2017.

“It weighed on his family for years and his mental health and that of his wife exploded, with panic attacks, depression and suicidal thoughts,” Ms Organ added.

“He was a devoted father and husband, a useful member of society until he was remanded in custody.

“His children will indeed be adults when he is released. He will miss their childhood.

Pearson and his wife touched hands through a gap in the platform’s security glass as he was led to the cells.

“He is vital emotional support for Ms Pearson, who has been struggling since the allegation was made.

“She fears the family will never get back together or survive.”

Pearson was ordered to sign the Lifetime Sex Offender Register; was banned from working with children and other vulnerable groups and told he had to serve two-thirds of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

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