You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Former English Youth Soccer Coach Faces Eight Counts of Sexual Abuse

The New York Times The New York Times 3 days ago By RORY SMITH
Barry Bennell in a Duval County courtroom in Jacksonsville, Fla., in 1995. Bennell, who has been convicted of sexual abuse charges in both Britain and the United States, worked as a scout and coach for a number of clubs, including Crewe, across England’s North West during the 1980s. © Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union, via Associated Press Barry Bennell in a Duval County courtroom in Jacksonsville, Fla., in 1995. Bennell, who has been convicted of sexual abuse charges in both Britain and the United States, worked as a scout and coach for a number of clubs, including Crewe, across England’s North West during the 1980s.

Barry Bennell, a former youth coach who was accused of sexual abuse by several former players in a scandal that has shaken English soccer, has been charged with eight counts of child sexual assault, prosecutors in England said.

England’s Crown Prosecution Service confirmed Tuesday that it had received evidence from the Cheshire police, the force covering the city of Crewe, where Bennell worked during the 1980s and early 1990s, related to “allegations of nonrecent child sexual abuse.”

“Following a review of the evidence, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, Mr. Bennell, 62, has today been charged with eight offenses of sexual assault against a boy under the age of 14,” the C.P.S. said in a statement.

The police said the offenses in the new charges were committed between 1981 and 1985. Bennell is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 14.

Those cases have received new attention in the past two weeks after a number of former players granted news media interviews in which they said they were abused as children, though not all named Bennell. Each man came forward after an interview with Andy Woodward, a former Crewe player, was published by The Guardian on Nov. 16.

Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, the players’ union, has said at least 20 players have come forward, either in public or in private, with sexual abuse claims. At least six police forces, including some in regions where Bennell never worked, have said they are investigating claims.

The allegations have prompted both Crewe and the Football Association, the body that governs soccer in England, to conduct their own inquiries. A number of other clubs, including Newcastle United, Manchester City and Leeds United, have said they would help the police with their investigations.

In London, Chelsea confirmed Tuesday that it had hired a law firm to investigate “an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased.” Chelsea also promised to provide “all possible assistance” and any material uncovered that may might be relevant to the F.A. inquiry.

As well as the Cheshire police, forces in Northumbria, Hampshire and Greater Manchester, as well as London’s Metropolitan Police, have confirmed they are investigating allegations of abuse in soccer.

Police officials in Scotland confirmed on Tuesday that they had also received a number of calls either offering information or reporting offenses, and said they would be pursuing their own inquiry.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times
The New York Times
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon