LIVERPOOL, England (AP) A former English youth soccer coach was jailed Monday for 30 years for abusing 12 young footballers after the judge called him the “devil incarnate.”
Barry Bennell, a former coach at Crewe and scout for Manchester City, was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of 50 child sexual offenses committed between 1979 and 1991.
“Your behavior towards these boys in grooming and seducing them before subjecting them to, in some cases, the most most serious, degrading and humiliating abuse was sheer evil,” Judge Clement Goldstone told the 64-year-old Bennell.
Bennell looked at the floor and nodded as the judge sentenced him. Some members of the public began to applaud as he was sent down, but were stopped by the judge.
Goldstone said Bennell had appeared to his victims as a God.
“In reality, you were the devil incarnate,” the judge added. “You stole their childhoods and their innocence to satisfy your own perversion.”
Goldstone said Bennell’s abuse had destroyed the enthusiasm his victims had for playing football and had led to them suffering problems including suicidal thoughts, alcoholism and depression.
Bennell has already served three jail terms, totaling 15 years, for similar offenses involving 16 other victims in England and the United States.