A former acting coach has been jailed for 16 years for sexually abusing young girls who attended a theatre group dreaming of becoming actresses.Christopher Lynch, 38, raped and sexually assault a number of girls aged in their mid to late teens, Northampton Crown Court heard.He was given the jail term as part of an extended sentence by a judge who branded him “dangerous and predatory”, having been found guilty of one count of rape, three counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual activity with a chiId.The court was told that Lynch, previously of St Stephens Road, Kettering, used the group as an opportunity to target vulnerable young girls who had an interest in acting.
During the trial, jurors heard that Lynch used his position to his advantage, sexually assaulting his victims during one-to-one auditions.
He made sure chaperones were not present, ensuring he and each victim were alone in the room, and held auditions in private rooms in a church, a youth centre, and at his own home address.
His victims, aged between 15 and 19, were led to believe he would help them further their acting careers.
In one case, the court was told, he visited the home of a victim to discuss a play and used this opportunity to sexually assault her.
Abuser 'deviously put himself into a position of trust'At his trial his victims were forced to give evidence.
Lynch was also found guilty of two charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one of facilitating and commissioning a child sex offence. He was found not guilty of one sexual assault.
Judge Rebecca Crane told Lynch he would serve 16 years in jail, with a further eight years on licence.
She called him “a dangerous and predatory male who exploited his position and the theatrical ambitions of the young victims for his own personal gain".She added: “The significant effect of his actions continues to this day, impacting on their relationships, mental health and daily lives.”
Lynch will be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and also be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.Det Con Laura Mannion, from Northamptonshire Police's child protection team, said she was pleased with the sentence.
“He deviously put himself into a position of trust to carry out his crimes, taking advantage of his victims' aspirations to become actresses. He sexually abused them and then tried to cover his tracks and deny what he had done to all that knew him when the police investigation commenced.“He continued to lie in court as he took the stand to try to convince the jury he was innocent. By doing this he subjected the victims to further trauma, making them give evidence and re-live what he had done to them years earlier."