Barry Bennell, a former English football coach, who has served three jail sentences for inappropriate sexual activity with minors, faces eight new charges of “sex assault against a boy under 14,” as reported by the BBC.
The convicted sex offender was found unconscious at a property in Knebworth Park, Stevenage by Thames Valley authorities on Friday, as reported by the BBC. Bennell is expected in South Cheshire Magistrates’ Court on December 14.
The most recent Barry Bennell charges are said to be the result of several former players who came forward last week, accusing the former coach of abusing them as children. The investigation into the former coach reportedly includes five police organizations.
Bennell was reported to have been living at a residence in Milton Keynes when the new accusations were made. A “fear for welfare” call was made on Friday, resulting in police finding the 62-year-old unconscious and admitting him to Lister Hospital, from which he has now been discharged.
A hotline was recently set up by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children giving former football players the ability to report sexual abuse. The line received over 250 calls in its first days.
More than 20 former football players have come forward publicly accusing Bennell of abuse, as reported by the BBC. The coach was first jailed for “assaulting a British boy,” while traveling in the United States in 1994. Then, in 1998, Barry Bennell was jailed for eight years in the United Kingdom for sexually assaulting another six boys.
“It was his way of finding out which players were the weaker ones or the softer ones,” former player Andrew Woodward was quoted. “It started within a few weeks. Initially, it was sexually touching but it rapidly got worse and he raped me.”
The latest charges are related to abuse that is alleged to have occurred between 1980 and 1985.
The British Crown Prosecution Service has asked the public to refrain from “reporting, commentary or sharing of information online” to allow Bennell the chance to have a fair trial.
David Lean, one of Bennell’s former players with Preston North End, spoke with Sky News about abuse he received at the hands of the coach, in 1980. Lean believes there could be hundreds of other victims.
“I told them there could be hundreds more,” Lead said. “At this stage now I know there are hundreds more.”
When Lean came public with his accusations against Bennell, in 2013, the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel rejected his case. A subsequent appeal led to Bennell being charged and changes in the United Kingdom’s “guidance to prosecutors.”
Prior to David Lean’s case, the CPS would sometimes back away from prosecuting cases involving children under 12, if it was thought that a conviction would lead to a short sentence. Lean’s appeal resulted in the English prosecutors pursuing all cases involving sexual abuse of children under 12, no matter how short the resulting sentence may be.
Bennell eventually pleaded guilty to four criminal counts before his trial, in April 2015, for which he was sentenced to two years in prison.
However, when David Lean accepted the opportunity to read a victim impact statement under the condition of anonymity, the 48-year-old was shocked when he was led into the same room as his former abuser.
“He was sat right in front of me, two yards away from me,” David Lean stated. “The only people in that passageway were me and him. I never wanted to see him again in my life and now I have his face, his current appearance, there all the time.”
On one occasion, following the incidents of abuse, when Lean’s parents unknowingly forced him into a situation with Bennell, the coach, who the boy said he was “in awe” of, was reported to state, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell your mum what you did to me.”
[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]