On 4th July 2018, a former football coach for Newcastle United, George Ormond, was found guilty by Newcastle Crown Court of carrying out 36 individual acts of sexual abuse against 18 boys between 1973 and 1997 and sentenced to 20-years in jail. The trial, which took place over six weeks, involved 50 witnesses and a jury of seven who took two days to arrive at their verdict.
Ormond was a high-profile football coach with Newcastle United who also provided coaching to the team’s youth club. Northumbria Police described him as a “predatory paedophile”.
An Abuse Of Power Over Decades
Judge Edward Bindloss described Ormond as being "wholly preoccupied with sex" and said he "used his position as a respected football coach to target boys and young men in his care".
According to accounts of Ormond’s behaviour, he would take advantage of boys by touching them indecently while ‘treating’ them for injuries or giving massages. He insisted the boys should not wear anything below their shorts, and personally checked they had followed his orders.
Not only did Ormond carry out his terrible abuse of power over decades, but he also sought to hide his acts by exercising his authority and power over the children he was supposed to protect. He would tell his victims to remain quiet, threatening their future career if they said anything. One victim stated Ormond has told him, “I’ve got your dreams in my hand. If you say anything, I will crush them”.
The Long Shadow of Historical Abuse
During the trial, the testimony of the victims and their families left no doubt as to the long-term damage that such abuse can leave in its wake. According to Judge Bindloss, “victim after victim” expressed their shame and embarrassment many years after the abuse they suffered. He also stated, "[They were] largely men in their 50s, largely from working class and sporting backgrounds, speaking with calm and quiet dignity about how they failed to understand what was happening to them”. One victim described himself as a “broken man”, explaining that “Football was everything to me. This dream turned into a living nightmare”.
Brought to Justice
As allegations of abusive behaviour grew against Ormond, he eventually quit the club in the 1990s. In 2002, he was imprisoned for six years for sexually abusing seven boys under the age of sixteen. Further allegations of sexual abuse became known following Ormond’s first tenure in jail, which eventually led to the 2018 trial.
Derek Bell, a former footballer and victim of Ormond, told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show that he was partially involved in the conviction of his abuser. Mr Bell stated, "he used to take us to parks in and around the West End and perform sexual acts, ask me to perform sexual acts". Many years later, according to the account of Mr Bell, he took matters into his own hands; visiting the home of Ormond and angrily confronting him, with a hidden tape recorder in his pocket. In his rage, Mr Bell asked why Ormond had abused him – capturing Ormond’s confession on an audio recording.
Claiming compensation if a staff member of a sports club has abused you
For decades, victims of abuse by those in positions of power, including sports club personnel, have not sought justice because of fear of retribution. Abusers such as Ormond have the power to control and coerce their victims by threatening to wreck their career prospects. In addition, many feel that as decades have passed since the wrongdoing, it is perhaps too late to bring a case against their perpetrator. But in recent years, the veil of secrecy has fallen as many brave individuals have come forward with their accounts of serious sexual abuse – leading to convictions. As such, victims are taken much more seriously, and the level of support for those individuals is much greater.
You may be entitled to financial compensation for the damage, pain, and loss you have suffered since your abuse. For many, sexual abuse by those in positions of responsibility as a child has irreparably damaged their career prospects, personal lives, mental health, and financial prospects.
By speaking to a solicitor who specialises in historical abuse, you may have a strong chance of securing compensation, which can help alleviate some of the significant pressures you have experienced because of the abuse you suffered. Regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred, you should seek expert advice.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse by a member of a sports club, or in other circumstances, please get in touch with Malcolm and his team who will be able to assist.
Contact our abuse claims experts today
At IBB, our personal injury team has the expertise and knowledge to advise and represent you if you wish to seek compensation for sexual abuse. To talk about how we might be able to help, please phone us on 0333 123 9099, email us at email@example.com or fill in our contact form. Any discussions you have with us will be in the strictest of confidence.