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Thu, May 23, 2019

Former football coach Bob Higgins guilty of 45 charges of indecent assault

Ex-football coach Bob Higgins found guilty of abusing teenage boys while at Southampton FC and Peterborough United FC.

A jury returned guilty verdicts following a retrial at Bournemouth Crown Court which heard that the youth coach Bob Higgins, 66, sexually abused schoolboy players during a 25 year period. He indecently assaulted 24 young boys (as young as 11) by sexually touching and groping, mostly trainees at Southampton FC and Peterborough United FC between 1971 and 1996. In addition Higgins, who also ran his own football academies, abused young players during “soapy massages" after training.

Many of the victims described Higgins as God-like, their mentor and their father figure showing the influence he held over them. Some of the victims said that they were too afraid to speak out about Higgins's actions as they feared it would be the end of their football career.

Although complaints about Higgins were first made 30 years ago he was able to continue working until the football abuse scandal began in late 2016.

Higgins is due to be sentenced at a later date.

His is the latest in a string of high-profile prosecutions of former football coaches. The others include George Ormond, who helped in Newcastle United’s youth set up; Barry Bennell, who worked at Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra; Michael Carson, who worked at Norwich City, Peterborough United and Cambridge United; and Jim McCafferty, a coach and kit man for the Celtic youth team. 

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