Conductor Robert King convicted in 2007 for sexually abusing choir boys will star in royal charity concert.
Convicted sex offender Robert King is set to conduct The King's Consort choir at a “spectacular musical pageant” hosted by Prince Charles’s charity, Music in Country Churches. The charity, which raises money for the restoration of English churches, asked the choir to perform at the Holy Trinity church in Suffolk next month, with concert profits financing much-needed restorations to the 200-year-old building.
King, 53, was found guilty in 2007 of 14 charges of indecent assault on four teenage boys and one 12-year-old during the 1980s and 1990s. After serving a three-year prison sentence, King retook directorship of The King’s Consort in 2010; since then the choir has undertaken a successful tour of the UK and released a best-selling album.
The appointment of King to conduct at the charity concert has caused considerable outrage among child abuse organisations. “It is as if nothing has happened,” said Peter Saunders of the British National Association for People Abused in Childhood. “He made these boys’ lives a misery – the trauma continues for them. I can’t believe that the Royal family or their charities would have anything to do with him.”
Esther Rantzen, the founder of the child protection charity Childline, said: “You have to ask if his crimes have been taken seriously enough.”
In response to such objections the Chairman of Music in Country Churches, Mark Bridges said: "I am obviously aware of King's past mistakes, but he has served his time. Our objective as a charity is to provide financial support to churches by providing world-class performances by musicians, and [King] is by anyone’s standards a world class musician.”
The King's Consort, founded by King in 1980, enjoys a reputation as one of Britain’s best choirs, having made 90 recordings and selling over a million CDs in its 33 year history.