James O'Brien is Leading Britain's Conversation.
25 November 2016, 17:03
The Shocking Attitudes That Tolerated Abuse Of Young Footballers
A mother who saw paedophile Barry Bennell at her son’s football matches 30 years ago reveals how he was allowed to prey on young boys.
As more former footballers come forward to reveal incidents of sexual abuse, one caller gives a shocking account of Barry Bennell attending her son’s football matches.
Andrew Castle was talking about the sexual abuse revelations, which centre around former coach and convicted paedophile Barry Bennell, on LBC this afternoon when one woman phoned in with her shocking account of the times.
“I’m just amazed it's taken this long for the lid to come off this abuse. My son's 40 now and I was aware of this 30-years ago and it was everywhere.”
Her son was a promising young footballer so she was directly involved with youth football at the time. Bennell, who was a coach and scout, would regularly attend games, often accompanied by young boys.
At first Carol didn’t think much of this, that was until another parent made an off-hand comment that horrified her.
“One father said to me ‘There's Barry Bunnell, after his next victim’.
“I turned to this father and I said ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘He likes little boys.’
“I said, ‘Likes little boys?’ He says, ‘Yes, in the wrong way.’ I said ‘Are you sure?’
“I couldn't believe that a grown man was telling me and just... not laughing about it but just mockingly.”
The allegation of Bennell’s actions and the casual attitude towards them distressed Carol, so she called the police. However, they showed little interest.
“They said that they heard these rumours too, but as far as they were aware, they were just rumours, because nobody's complained about it.”
Bennell has been jailed on three separate occasions for sexual offences, most recently in 2015 when he was sentenced to two years in prison for sexual abuse of a 12-year-old boy in 1980.
Former footballer Andy Woodward went public with his story last week of being sexually assaulted. Since then more former people have come forward, with more expected to over the coming weeks and months.