8 men claiming Man City damages for sexual abuse

LONDON: Eight men who were sexually abused by a youth soccer coach will go to the London High Court to claim damages Manchester city for what they describe as very serious psychiatric injuries.

Men have said they were abused by Barry Bennell while allegedly working as a scout for the City and coaching the so-called feeder teams that provided the club with players who were too young to be signed in college terms.

In 2018, Bennell was jailed for 30 years after being convicted of 50 child sex crimes committed between 1979 and 1991.

The eight men are now between 40 and 50 years old. They contend that while Bennell was not officially employed by City, the club remains indirectly responsible for the abuse.

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Seven of them claim damages for the loss of an opportunity to pursue a career as a footballer.

Two of the men also file lawsuits against Crewe Alexandra , the English team where Bennell worked as a youth coach after leaving City in the mid-1980s.

In a preliminary hearing Tuesday, the plaintiffs' attorney, James Counsell He said that each of the men had continued throughout their adult lives suffering the effects of abuse.

Although the defendants require the plaintiffs to prove that they were abused, Counsell said, the abuse is not denied and Bennell was convicted of crimes against most of the plaintiffs and also some of the witnesses who will be called.

City and Crewe deny that they are indirectly responsible for the abuse committed. They argue that the claims have been filed too late to be heard by the court, and they dispute to what extent the abuse is said to have caused financial or other losses to the plaintiffs.

Michael Kent, representing both clubs, said in written communications that Bennell never had a formal employment contract with the City, raising the question of whether, regardless of the circumstances of the particular assaults, that defendant could be responsible for them. . .

Kent argued that although Bennell was a Crewe employee, there is a major dispute over whether the attacks occurred in the course of or were closely related to his employment.

The eight claims will be heard together in an eight-week trial that is tentatively scheduled to begin in October 2021.

In March of last year, City said it had established a plan to compensate victims of child sexual abuse that they experienced at the club.

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