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Rochester Cathedral choir chief Samuel Rathbone in dock at Medway Magistrates' Court on child sex charge

By Lynn Cox

The former assistant director of music at Rochester Cathedral has appeared in court after being charged with sexual activity with a child.

Samuel Rathbone was arrested in September last year on suspicion of the crime.

The 28-year-old, who was responsible for running the girls' choir, appeared before Medway magistrates.

Former Rochester Cathedral assistant director of music Samuel Rathbone

Rathbone, formerly of The Precinct, Rochester, did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody.

When he was arrested on September 27, he was also suspected of abuse by possession of trust.

But police have now confirmed he has only been charged with sexual activity with a child – a girl under 16.

At the time of Rathbone's arrest, the Dean of Rochester - The Very Rev Dr Mark Beach - said he had resigned from his post in September to "pursue other musical opportunities".

He added that Rathbone was officially on sick leave until his departure date in January this year, but that he did not expect him back at work.

Rochester Cathedral needs to raise £10m for its Music Endowment Fund.

Rathbone began working at the cathedral in October 2010 and had a shared responsibility for the musical life of the cathedral along with the director of music, Scott Farrell, at the historic site.

Dr Beach added: "He was the assistant director of music and shared the responsibility of musical life for the cathedral. He was also in charge of the girls' choir."

The offences are said to have happened in the Maidstone area and involve a girl under 16.

Rathbone was remanded in custody and the case against him was sent to Maidstone Crown Court, where he is next due to appear on Thursday, May 8.

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