Am dram stalwart faces underage sex allegations

Maurice William McShane, who is facing seven sex-offence allegations.

Maurice William McShane, who is facing seven sex-offence allegations.

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A well-known figure on the North East amateur dramatics circuit has been charged with having sex with an underage girl.

Maurice William McShane is due to appear at Durham Crown Court next month, facing a total of seven charges of sexual offences.

McShane, 53, of Ambleside Avenue, Seaham, has been involved with amateur theatre for more than 20 years, and has played leading roles in many musicals for a range of North-East companies down the years, including Roker-based St Andrew’s Operatic Society, Seaham’s Vane Tempest Theatre Group and Murton Theatre Group.

He appeared before Peterlee magistrates yesterday, facing five charges of engaging in sexual activity with a girl aged 13 to 15, and two of sexual assault on a female over 16.

The first five charges relate to a period from October to December 2006, while the latter two date from December 2013 and January 2014.

McShane spoke only to confirm his name and address and he understood the charges and his bail conditions at yesterday’s hearing.

Sarah Traynor, prosecuting, told the court the charges were so serious they could only be dealt with by a crown court. “You will have seen the nature of the allegations,” she said.

“You will be aware that they are indictable only.

“They will have to be sent to crown court to be dealt with there. The defendant currently answers to conditional bail.”

The case was sent to Durham Crown Court for 10am on August 13 and McShane’s conditional bail was extended until then.