A PAEDOPHILE who groomed and repeatedly sexually assaulted a boy over a five year period in the 1970s and 1980s has been jailed.
Michael Florl, 62, of Stratford Road, Blacon, was sentenced at Chester Crown Court yesterday to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty at a hearing in December to 12 counts of indecent assault against a child between 1977 and 1982.
Florl also pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of indecent assault and these allegations will lie on file.
The court heard evidence of how the young boy was groomed by Florl who befriended his victim after visiting where the young boy played football.
Florl also befriended the boy’s parents and he would often be allowed to take him to watch football matches, play badminton and visit Florl’s sister’s house which is where the first sexual assault took place.
Prosecuting, Debra White, said Florl abused his position of trust and was once given permission by the boy’s parents to take the boy to Paris to watch the European Cup Final. Miss White said the boy was not taken to the match, he did not know where he went but he was sexually abused in a hotel.
Miss White said there was between 40 and 50 incidents of sexual abuse of the young boy from when he was 11 until he was 15 years old which took place at Florl’s sister’s house, inside Florl’s car and at Florl’s own home, where the worst abuse took place.
Miss White said if the boy did not go along with Florl’s demands he would threaten him physically and threaten to tell his parents about the abuse. When the boy tried to avoid Florl he would wait outside of his school for him.
Miss White also said Florl, who used to manage a care home’s football team, once took the boy to the care home to meet the staff. The victim said he felt like he “was a trophy, like he was being shown off.” On another occasion Florl went with the boy’s football team to play a tournament in Paris and they shared a room.
Miss White said that as the boy got older he began to realise what was happening was wrong and tried to avoid him again but Florl threatened him and said “it was their little secret.”
Miss White said the abuse ended when the boy was 16 and he got a job working at a shop. On one of the boy’s lunch breaks Florl came to see him and they had an argument where Florl punched the boy in the face. No police complaint was made but contact between the two stopped afterwards.
Miss White said the victim came forward in August last year to try and get some closure. She said: “This abuse has had an enormous impact on the complaint’s life. It has affected his ability to form close relationships.
“He has frequent nightmares and flashbacks about what happened to him and he thinks about what happened to him on a daily basis.
“He is hoping this will bring him closure.”
Defending, Adrian Evans, said Florl was aware he would receive a lengthy sentence for his crimes. He said the offences started when Florl was about 26 years old because Florl had himself been physically abused by his father and sexually abused by another adult when he was a child which left him confused about his sexuality. Mr Evans said Florl had targeted the young boy because he was sexually attracted to him.
Mr Evans also said Florl had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, had no previous convictions and that he seemed to have no other victims.
Sentencing Florl, Judge Elgan Edwards, the Recorder of Chester, said the offences were a “gross breach of trust” because the parents trusted Florl with their son.
Due to the historic nature of the case Judge Edwards was forced to sentence Florl under the 1960 Indecency with Children Act which meant a maximum term of 10 years in prison as opposed to the more recent Sexual Offences Act (2003) which had a maximum term for Florl’s crimes of 19 years.
Judge Edwards gave Florl full credit for his early guilty pleas and sentenced him to seven years in prison for indecent assault of a child. He also said Florl had to sign the sex offenders register for life.
Judge Edwards said: “What you did to that 11 year old boy, and when he was 12, and 13, and 14, and 15 was disgraceful.
“You abused the trust of his parents. They thought you were his friend when in fact you were his sexual predator. It went on time after time for around four years.
“Not only was there breach of trust but you threatened him and generally treated him as a plaything. This will not be tolerated and it has to be met with a serious sentence.”
See full story in the Chester Leader