Friday, 2 December 2016

The Latest Historical Abuse Scandal

I have stated time and time again, and I make this point abundantly clear in my soon-to-be-published book 'Presumed Guilty' (Biteback, Jan 10th 2017), there are few things worse to cope with when growing up than being abused by a trusted adult. Some of the stories I heard about when writing my book were difficult to listen to. All of us, as a society, must do all within our gift to keep our children safe from the hands of predatory abusers.

This stated, it will be of little surprise considering the appalling lies from which I had to suffer during 2012-2013 that I have become suspicious about the motives of those who suddenly complain about having been abused many years ago and have said nothing to anybody about the abuse during the interim period. Of course, just because someone has kept his or her counsel for decades does not mean that that person was not abused. But, in view of the latest explosion of complaints of historical abuse within the world of football, we have to be careful we do not believe all complainants without thorough scrutiny. We did precisely this with regard to a number of VIPs/celebrities/teachers in recent years and, as it transpired, after the ruination of many innocent people's lives, most of what was claimed was proven to be nonsense.

The person who recently started the ball rolling about historical abuse in the world of football coaching is a man called Andy Woodward, an ex-footballer himself, who alleges that he was abused when he was a boy by former coach Barry Bennell. It is interesting to note that Woodward is a former policeman who was himself dismissed by Lancashire Constabulary as recently as 4 November 2016 for 12 counts of gross misconduct. What's more, a number of women have made serious allegations of unprofessional conduct against him. One woman has claimed that he raped her, although no charges have been brought. None of this has been mentioned in the mainstream media.

Mr Woodward may well have been abused by Barry Bennell, as he claims, but all I am calling for is caution and proper investigative work when dealing with historical complaints. The fact is Bennell, a football coach who has three times been imprisoned for historical abuse against boys, has admitted his guilt on certain past charges and has been punished. This does not necessarily mean he is guilty of every future complaint that comes his way.

What's more, is Bennell's past guilt a reason to start a national campaign to follow those campaigns which have attracted a host of liars and opportunists over recent years? The m.o. seems to be: Bennell has been found guilty of abuse therefore anyone can make further claims against him (or against any other football coaches), knowing they will be believed. Egged on by the P.I. lawyers, they can then get their hands on the available tens of thousands of pounds compensation.

I am sorry to state that as long as we attach vast quantities of cash to these historical allegations (all claimants encouraged enthusiastically by the P.I. lawyers of course) and as long as there are malicious, greedy opportunists, like the person who started criminal proceedings against me in 2012, then we will never know who is telling the truth.  What we must do is investigate all these new allegations intelligently and as thoroughly as possible, which was palpably missing from the various historical 'operations' of recent years.

No comments:

Post a Comment