England

Church musician Malcolm Archer to face historical sex offence charges

Malcolm Archer
Image caption Mr Archer, pictured in 2004, has worked at several cathedrals during his career

A leading church musician and composer is to be charged with historical sex offences.

Malcolm Archer, 66, has been summonsed to face a count of indecent assault and one of committing an act of gross indecency.

Mr Archer was suspended as director of chapel music at Winchester College late in 2017 and has since left the school.

Essex Police said the alleged offences involved one boy in the late 1970s in the Chelmsford area.

Mr Archer, from Odiham in Hampshire, is a former director of music at St Paul's Cathedral and directed the music at state occasions including the Queen's 80th birthday service.

In a statement, Winchester College said the alleged offences were unconnected with the college and are claimed to have occurred many years before Mr Archer's employment.

"As soon as the school was made aware of the allegations, it treated them with the utmost seriousness, in full co-operation with the relevant authorities, and in accordance with the standards of a stringent safeguarding culture," a spokeswoman said.

A retired teacher Kenneth Francis, 71, of Akasaka in Tokyo, has also been charged with 13 counts of indecent assault and four counts of committing an act of gross indecency.

The alleged offences involved four boys under the age of 16 and were reported to have been committed between 1972 and 1979.

Both men are due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on 12 December.