Mormon guilty of sex abuse to be sentenced

Cambridge News, UK/September 3, 2008

A Mormon branded a predatory paedophile found guilty of carrying out years of sexual abuse on a child he befriended at his church will be sentenced today.

As reported first on Cambridge News Online yesterday, Martyn Conway was convicted of eight indecency charges - including the rape and attempted rape - of the boy to whom he posed as a father figure while a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge.

Involved in youth and fellowship activities there, Conway subjected his victim to years of abuse throughout the 1980s, leaving a damaged individual, psychologically scarred and suffering mental health problems.

The 48-year-old was cleared of a ninth charge of the rape of another boy alleged to have taken place in the 1990s.

A well-known face on Cambridge streets where he worked as a postman for more than two decades, Conway had denied all the charges at a three-week trial at the city's crown court.

Confident he would be acquitted of the crimes, the 48-year-old, of Princess Court, Cambridge, was planning to emigrate to Utah, in the United States - considered the home of the Mormon faith - with his new wife in the next few weeks.

The court was told the former postman groomed the youngster, pretending to act as a mentor but secretly molesting him while taking him on trips to the seaside and camping.

One of the incidents of abuse was said to have taken place at the church itself after Conway - trusted as a keyholder at the time - took the boy there after hours.

During days of emotional testimony via video-link, the victim also told of Conway's Mormon underwear, described as "temple garments", and how he would be cajoled into massaging his abuser, and sworn to secrecy.

Conway swore it was all lies and he used the Mormon Church as his trump card.

Fearing his victim would reveal all to police, Conway made a false confession to church elders that he had been in a consensual gay relationship - considered a grievous sin - with him. Not content that he had muddied the waters enough, Conway went on to make further confessions involving pornography, resulting in his excommunication in 2006.

Part of his defence revolved around his claims that fellow Mormons at the Cherry Hinton Road church had "hounded him out" and had grudge enough to support false allegations against him.

But the jury saw through his story.

They also learned he had a conviction for indecently assaulting another boy in 1990. But Conway claimed there had been no sexual motive and he had been persuaded to plead guilty in court by his solicitor.

Describing Conway as "a predatory paedophile", Tim Brown, for the prosecution, suggested he had told fellow church members he had been acquitted so they were never aware of the truth.

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