The “monster”, as Barry Bennell defined himself before the judge, liked them dark, vulnerable, and very young. Young football players like Andy Woodward fit the bill when aged just 11, he was rising to prominence in school football circles in Stockport, just outside Manchester. Barry Bennell’s name has made the news for all the wrong reasons in light of the disgusting sexual abuse scandal that has surfaced. In this post, we will find out more about him and the vile things that he did. Let’s get started.
Barry Bennell: The Child Sex Abuse Scandal
Who is Barry Bennell?
He was a reputed scout for promising young footballers in the North West of England for three decades, as well as a serial child molester. One of his earliest victims was a young Andy Woodward. Bennell took notice of the young defender and gave him a chance at Crewe Alexandra, a club that plays in the youth ranks and has been regarded since the early 1980s as an example of youth management. Barry Bennell is a former youth coach for clubs such as Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City, Stoke City, and Leeds United. He was in charge of searching for talents and training them throughout the United Kingdom. In 1994, on a tour in Florida, a boy denounced him and after being tried, he was imprisoned in the United States. He has served up to 3 prison sentences for child abuse. Currently, at the age of 62, he is prohibited from exercising any activity related to football. According to British media, he lives in Milton Keynes under the false name of Richard Jones. He is free.
Who is Barry Bennell’s most famous victim?
Anthony Woodward was a football-mad kid. He wanted to see in Crewe the beginning of his dream, but it ended up turning into a horrifying nightmare of sexual abuse that destroyed his career and his life. A terrible secret that he told the police in 1998 and that now, at 43 years old, he has decided to make public, in the hope that his testimony will encourage others to denounce a phenomenon that he considers goes far beyond an isolated case.
Have other players come out with their allegations against Barry Bennell?
The course of events seems to prove him right. Since Woodward recounted his experience in The Guardian, five other former players have broken their silence to publicly denounce Bennell’s abuse. The police claim to have collected, in recent days, more than a dozen testimonies from alleged victims of the coach. The scandal transcends Crewe and Bennell is not the only manager denounced. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has activated a hotline to report abuse that, in just 24 hours, received fifty calls.
Did Barry Bennell abuse Anthony Woodward multiple times?
The secret that was eating away at Woodward, and from which he decided to get rid on November 16, is terrifying. Bennell – who was compared to “the Pied Piper of Hamelin” by a Manchester City teammate for his influence on children – raped Woodward hundreds of times, more than he can remember, between the ages of 11 and 15.
The case responds to the classic pattern of abuse. Paralyzing embarrassment, blackmail, physical threats—Bennell turned out to be a virtuoso with the nunchaku —and psychological. In this case, football is added as a control element: Bennell was in charge of reminding Woodward that, at any moment, he could make it disappear and the dream that meant everything to him would never come true.
Is Barry Bennell related to Anthony Woodard?
His story took a macabre turn when Bennell began to have a relationship with Woodward’s younger sister, 16 years old. “He was much older than her and at first he didn’t want people to know, so he told me that he would never play football again if he said a word. I was scared to death because he already had absolute power over me at that point,” Woodward recalled in The Guardian.
When the relationship became public, Woodward had to see how his abuser had dinner every Sunday at his parents’ house, sharing laughter and jokes with the family. In 1991, they married and the man who for years exploited, managed, and abused Woodward became his brother-in-law.
Meanwhile, his promising football career was fading, in a spiral of depression and anxiety. On more than one occasion he faked injuries to hide panic attacks. He has tried to take his own life, he admits, up to ten times.
Does Barry Bennell have multiple victims?
Anthony Woodward’s fear is that Bennell may have abused hundreds of minors. We would be facing a Jimmy Saville-type scenario —The BBC announcer who, a year after his death in 2013, was revealed as a predator who had abused hundreds of children— from the world of football.
Woodward is disappointed in the world surrounding the sport he grew up with. With that poisonous culture that nothing should come out of the locker room doors. “During all those years in Crewe, a lot of people were talking about it,” he explains. “Other players told me: ‘I’m sure he does this to you, we know he does it.’ There was all that locker room bravado. But afterward, outside the club, it was never talked about. That’s how football worked. No one wanted to break the circle of trust.”
Previous attempts to shed light on Bennell’s underworld, such as an early 1990s documentary, have collided with a closed-in football world. Neither the Crewe managers nor the Football Association, the body that governs English professional football, showed a willingness to investigate. The football world wasn’t ready to listen then. Now, forced by the stories of the victims, it seems that he will have no choice but to reflect on how he allowed children who dreamed of soccer glory to be destroyed by monsters.
Paul Stewart (52 years old), former player of the English National Team declared for The Mirror: “One day, while we were traveling in the car, he began to touch me. He scared the hell out of me, but I didn’t know what to do. Then he went on to sexually abuse me. He said he would kill my mother, my father, and my two brothers if I said a word about it.”
What is Barry Bennell doing now?
Another victim’s complaint triggered a police investigation that included allegations of abuse in camps in Spain and the United States. Bennell, now 62, served four years in prison in Florida for assaulting a 13-year-old boy during a sports tour. In 1998 he was deported to the UK, where he was sentenced to a further six years after admitting 23 counts of sexual offences. In 2015 he went back to jail to serve another two-year sentence for molesting another boy during a soccer camp. Today, according to the BBC, he is free and living under the assumed name of Richard Jones in Milton Keynes.
Even from jail, Bennell was able to find ways to exert mind control over his victims. He wrote letters to players he had coached over the years. In them, he did not offer any explanation or show any signs of repentance. He was asking them for a favor: to send him money for reasons he didn’t explain. And, incidentally, he showed them that the monster still knew how to contact them.
What are the charges facing Barry Bennell?
Barry Bennell, 62, faces eight counts of “sexual assault”, “incitement to commit a grossly lewd act” and “assault with intent to sodomy”.
“Mr. Bennell, 62, has been charged today (November 29) with eight sexual assaults against a child under the age of fourteen,” reported the Fiscal Service (CPS, in its acronym in English).
The defendant has served at least three sentences since the 1990s for sexual abuse of minors in England and the United States.
Most of the victims were kids who played soccer at clubs where Bennell worked as a youth team coach or as a scout for future talent.
The opening of a new judicial process against the convicted pedophile is one more step in a scandal that has been spreading through all the ranks of English football for two weeks.
More than twenty former players have waived the established privilege of anonymity to publicly disclose that their youth coaches sexually assaulted them.
Are there other sexual predators like Barry Bennell in the football world?
Bennell has been identified as an aggressor in several instances, but it is not ruled out that there are other sexual predators with former jobs related to children’s sports.
The president of the English football association, Greg Clarke, has admitted on television that it is the “greatest crisis I can remember in the FA”.
Seven regional police forces have opened investigations in response to complaints and allegations registered in recent days. A confidential telephone line, set up by a child protection NGO in cooperation with the FA, has received more than 200 calls in almost a week.
“It was his way of knowing which players were the weakest. It started after a few weeks. At first, it was just touching, but it quickly escalated and he raped me. I don’t want to put a number on all the times it happened, but it happened during four years” declared on November 16 for The Guardian Andy Woodward (43) former player of the minor divisions of the Crewe Alexandra club. He was sexually abused between 11 and 15 by convicted child molester Barry Bennell.
A few days later, five other former soccer players reported the abuse when they played in the minor leagues. Four of them said they were abused by Bennell. “I just wanted to pretend that nothing had happened and forget it. I knew that it was not going to be known because I was completely petrified that if I said it it would be the end of my career. All these years I had this secret, it has been unbearable but, after reading the article about Andy, I immediately felt like a great weight was lifted from me. I had to do this and hope that it would help more people to tell their experiences,” said Steve Walter (44 years old), the youngest footballer to debut in a few days.
Has Barry Bennell’s scandal shocked the British footballing world?
Six ex-soccer players from the United Kingdom reported being victims of sexual abuse when they played in the minor leagues, shocking the world. “It started after a few weeks. At first, it was just touching, but he quickly escalated and raped me,” Andy Woodward, 43, a former player in the youth divisions for Crewe Alexandra club, told The Guardian. | Source: Getty
Paul Stewart (52 years old), former player of the English National Team admitted to The Mirror that another minor coach also abused him daily for four years. Stewart also stated that there would be “hundreds” of children who are victims of sexual abuse in the United Kingdom. Gary Lineker, Stewart’s teammate at Tottenham, showed his support on Twitter: “Extremely brave to tell this terrible story. I really hope that speaking up will help him and others. Completely disgusting,” he stated.
How will Barry Bennell’s case impact British football?
“This will have a huge impact,” said John Cameron, representative of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in the United Kingdom. On the football field, the reactions were immediate. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United forward and NSPCC ambassador commented: “It’s appalling that some of my colleagues have suffered this while playing the game I love. It’s important for people to know that it’s okay to speak up, that help is available, and that they don’t have to suffer in silence.”
Pat Nevin, a former Scottish national team player, said he would not be surprised if there are still young players who are victims of sexual abuse by predators like Barry Bennell. Nevin stated that youth soccer provides an environment conducive to this crime. Dr. Daniel Rhind, professor of psychology at Brunel University, told the BBC that one in 20 children would be at risk of sexual abuse in sports.