Former choirmaster of Altrincham church jailed for 12 years for decades of abuse against young boys

Altrincham Today [Altrincham, England]

October 3, 2022

By David Prior

The former choirmaster of an Altrincham church has been jailed for 12 years for three decades of abuse against underage boys.

Richard Owen, also known as Franklyn Stanowski, abused 14 boys at churches across Cheshire.

Chester Crown Court heard how Owen, from Hale, would abuse the boys for his own sexual gratification in private rooms.

The offences occurred between 1968 and 1998 when the boys were under 16.

Owen became choirmaster at St John’s in Altrincham – now converted into apartments – in the late 1980s and remained in the role until 1998.

During this time he also volunteered at a local primary school, teaching the children to sing as well as attending school trips to recruit choirboys.

The court heard he abused numerous boys during his time in Altrincham, with “hundreds” of occurrences leaving boys terrified.

The 70-year-old, from Winsford, admitted to 27 offences involving indecent assault of underage boys and on Friday was jailed for 12 years.

He also abused boys at St John’s Over in Winsford and St Cross in Knutsford.

Owen was arrested in March 2020 after Cheshire Constabulary had launched an investigation following a ‘past cases review’ into allegations of sexual abuse, which was commissioned by the Church of England. He was charged in January 2022.

Detective Inspector Dave Hutcheon, of Cheshire Constabulary’s major investigation team, said: “Owen preyed on young and innocent children betraying their trust for his own sexual gratification while also becoming infatuated and obsessed with them.

“The decades of abuse and his behaviour deeply affected so many boys in many ways and continued into their adulthood.

“The investigation has been long and, at times, difficult in order to identify and speak to those who suffered Owen’s abuse. Investigations like these carry an important message – if you have been a victim of abuse it doesn’t matter how long ago it took place, what matters is the courage to come forward and talk about it.

“These men have shown that courage to speak about their ordeal more than 50 years later to ensure Owen is held accountable for what he did.

“If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse please contact Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or visit our website. Information can also be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1