There have been a number of developments this month in respect of alleged abuse within sport.
Barry Bennell, the former football coach who was jailed in February after being found guilty of 50 counts of indecent assaults against 12 boys between 1979 and 1991 is to appeal against his 30-year prison sentence. He is currently due to serve 15 years of his sentence in custody, with the rest on licence. It had been argued on behalf of Bennell at the time of his sentencing that his poor health would mean that his time in custody would be less comfortable and more difficult than it would be for someone without such concerns.
Michael “Kit” Carson, 74, a former youth football coach and scout credited with helping launch the careers of several professional players has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of indecent assault and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. The offences are alleged to have been carried out on 11 boys all under the age of 16 and to have happened between 1978 and 2009, with the majority of the offences taking place between 1992 and 2000. Carson was arrested in January 2017 and was charged earlier this year in connection with a football abuse probe in Cambridgeshire. He had worked for clubs including Peterborough, Cambridge United and Norwich City. He is said to have also worked in Finland and to have taken UK youth teams on competitive tours of the country.
In further news, Ellis Hawksworth, a 25 year old head youth coach at Lancashire National League side AFC Fylde, has been arrested over allegations that he recently groomed eight team members aged 15 to 18 by way of sending sexually inappropriate texts and images.
In the meantime, Clive Sheldon QC, who is leading the Football Association’s independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, has recently stated that he is prepared to launch his own investigation into those clubs that do not respond adequately to his request for information.
In matters outside of football, Michael Chapman, 82, a former swimming teacher from Weymouth, has been jailed for six years after being found guilty of 10 offences of indecent assault against two young girls between 1981 and 1993.
Author, David Milton, a partner with BLM