Jump to content

Failed to report child abuse


Lord Willard
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/38770506?client=safari

Quote

Aston Villa sacked a scout accused of sexually abusing boys in 1988 but did not go to police, the Victoria Derbyshire show has discovered.

Ted Langford later admitted sex offences, dating from 1976 until after he left the club in 1989.

_93845519_langford-blurred.jpg

Tony Brien, who was abused from age 12, said he felt senior figures at the club pressed him not to pursue the matter.

Then-assistant manager, Dave Richardson, strongly denies any role in deterring Mr Brien from going public.

Mr Richardson, who later became head of youth development at the Premier League, said he did everything possible to protect young players.

He said he raised the matter with manager Graham Taylor and chairman Doug Ellis, an internal investigation took place and it was decided there was not enough evidence to go to the police as the parents involved did not want to take the matter any further.

An Aston Villa spokesman said the club "considers the safeguarding and welfare of all players and staff to be of paramount importance.

"Aston Villa would encourage anyone with any allegation or concern regarding safeguarding or other potential wrongdoing to contact the relevant authorities."

_93840571_img_6369d.jpg

Mr Brien - who has waived his right to anonymity - told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme he was abused numerous times while playing for local youth team Dunlop Terriers from the age of 12.

"[Langford] said he needed to take a sperm sample to determine whether I had a footballer's genes or not. I felt ashamed and dirty.

"It's something you never lose. It will never go away from your mind."

Ted Langford, who died in 2012, worked as a scout for Leicester City and Aston Villa in the 1970s and 80s, as well as running Dunlop Terriers.

Leicester City said in a statement that the club has "no indication of any current or historic allegations made against or in relation to [its] employees.

"We would, of course, investigate fully in the event any further information comes to light."

_93845517_dunlop-terriers-blurred.jpg

Langford also worked as a bin man, collecting rubbish from schools in the West Midlands.

He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2007 for the sexual abuse of four young players in the 1970s and 80s. He was working for Aston Villa and Leicester City for much of that time. Mr Brien was not involved in the criminal case.

Mr Brien said Langford "used to have a different boy in his bed with him every single night" on football trips abroad run by the scout.

He said other boys would appear with "love bites" on their bodies but the abuse was never mentioned.

Another young player who went on a separate trip with one of Langford's youth teams told the BBC a very similar account of the abuse.

Professional career

Aged 16, Mr Brien was signed for Leicester City by youth team manager Dave Richardson. Ted Langford also worked for the club as a part-time scout.

Mr Brien made 16 appearances for the first team before moving on to Chesterfield, West Bromwich Albion and Hull City.

In 1988 - after Mr Richardson and scout Langford had joined Aston Villa - Mr Brien said he made the decision to call Mr Richardson to warn him about the scout's behaviour.

_93842106_signing-blurred.jpg

Mr Brien, aged 18 or 19 at the time, claimed he had "two or three" conversations with Mr Richardson and another senior figure at the club, but was put off from going public with the allegations.

Mr Brien said he was asked: "Do you really think you can put up with the obscenities from the terraces?"

He felt he had been effectively told to "sweep the matter under the carpet and keep quiet", he added.

He now says he was would have been prepared to report the abuse to the police at the time if asked.

Dave Richardson strongly denies he advised Mr Brien he should not go public.

In earlier conversations with the BBC he appeared to agree he had held a series of conversations with the player.

"The bottom line is once he'd rung me, [I would have said] 'We're dealing with it, it will be dealt with in such a way whereby you don't have to worry'," he said.

"I would have told him, 'Leave it with me and we'll deal with it'. I wouldn't brush it under the carpet, otherwise I wouldn't have sacked him."

But in a later statement released by the law firm Slater and Gordon he said: "I cannot recall ever having a conversation with him about any allegations of abuse."

_93840943_aston-villa.jpg

Mr Richardson said around this time he had already been contacted by a number of other boys and parents concerned about Langford's behaviour.

He said he raised the matter with manager Graham Taylor and chairman Doug Ellis and an internal investigation took place.

Langford was dismissed, but Mr Richardson felt - "in conjunction with the chairman and the manager" - he did not have enough evidence to go to the police as the parents involved did not want to take the matter any further.

"I took these [allegations] extremely seriously and began making enquiries," said Dave Richardson.

"These led me to speak to the parents of two young footballers at Aston Villa who each told me their sons had been abused by Ted Langford.

"I asked them if they were going to report the allegations to the police or if they wanted me to. After consulting with each other, both sets of parents told me that they did not want the matter reported to the police," he said.

Then, as now, there was no legal requirement for Dave Richardson or Aston Villa to report concerns about Ted Langford to the authorities.

"[Back then] there were no safeguarding arrangements in football," said Mr Richardson.

"It's different now. I would go straight to the safeguarding person and say, 'Look, we have a reason to believe that someone is guilty of malpractice, you need to look into it'."

Mr Ellis, now 93, said he remembered being spoken to about allegations of a child sex abuser at the club but could not recall being involved in any discussion about whether the police should informed.

Arrest and conviction

It is not clear what happened to Ted Langford after he was sacked by Aston Villa in 1988.

According to Mr Richardson, the word had got out that Langford could not be trusted.

In 2007, the scout was convicted of a range of offences that took place between 1976 and 1989, a year after he left the club.

It is understood the case will form part of the independent investigation into historical abuse in football currently being conducted on behalf of the Football Association.

Dave Richardson said he had not yet been contacted as part of that inquiry.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, LondonLax said:

How could they have had enough evidence to sack him but not enough to report it?

No one's going to come out of this looking good. 

It was the 80s. You could get rid of people  alot easier back then.

Not to mention I doubt he'd want to take them to a tribunal because "they sacked me for noncing".

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • VT Supporter
50 minutes ago, LondonLax said:

How could they have had enough evidence to sack him but not enough to report it?

No one's going to come out of this looking good. 

Different standards of proof 

Employment is a civil matter so the standard is "more likely than not" (i.e. 51%).

Criminal standard of proof is "beyond reasonable doubt" (i.e. 90%). 

Whether the club could or should have done more would be difficult to judge to say the least; the fact that they did something at least should be acknowledged. However, as is often the case, you can have enough evidence to suggest that something probably happened but not definitely. Can see why they did what they did though. 

Agree with comments - people should read into the story - headline is there to grab the attention. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard to know what to say without the facts, but I'm extremely disappointed that my club didn't take a firmer stance. I know it's difficult, but I feel they should have gone over the parents head. I don't care that 'it was the 80's'

I hope the perpetrator is bought to justice and that if those at the club at the time were found to have not shown the proper care, then they are too.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, dont_do_it_doug. said:

Let's not try and play the victims here, eh?

Certainly not the way i meant for it to come across , the point i was trying to make is it happened before he was at Aston Villa (or thats the way i have read it ) , and Villa sacked him as soon as they got wind , certainly today the police would be involved immediately , back then safeguarding children didnt even exist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, cyrusr said:

Different standards of proof 

Employment is a civil matter so the standard is "more likely than not" (i.e. 51%).

Criminal standard of proof is "beyond reasonable doubt" (i.e. 90%). 

Whether the club could or should have done more would be difficult to judge to say the least; the fact that they did something at least should be acknowledged. However, as is often the case, you can have enough evidence to suggest that something probably happened but not definitely. Can see why they did what they did though. 

Agree with comments - people should read into the story - headline is there to grab the attention. 

You are talking about the standards of proof for a conviction but we never got to that point because the club didn't even bother to tell the police. Who knows how many other kids were potentially impacted because the club sacked him and then walked away from any further responsibility to let the police know what they knew. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, dont_do_it_doug. said:

It's hard to know what to say without the facts, but I'm extremely disappointed that my club didn't take a firmer stance. I know it's difficult, but I feel they should have gone over the parents head. I don't care that 'it was the 80's'

I hope the perpetrator is bought to justice and that if those at the club at the time were found to have not shown the proper care, then they are too.

He was jailed & he died in 2011.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, LondonLax said:

How could they have had enough evidence to sack him but not enough to report it?

No one's going to come out of this looking good. 

In the 80s there were very few convictions for child abuse so if the club had have gone to the police no doubt it would never have gone to court

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • VT Supporter
17 minutes ago, LondonLax said:

You are talking about the standards of proof for a conviction but we never got to that point because the club didn't even bother to tell the police. Who knows how many other kids were potentially impacted because the club sacked him and then walked away from any further responsibility to let the police know what they knew. 

Yeah maybe they should have but we don't really know what happened behind the scenes. It might have been they had nothing, might have been they were completely covering it up. Maybe the parents didn't want anything said to the police. Maybe there were other pressures. Indeed, the abused says he felt he was pressurised to not taking it further. That's subjective. Only those present, truly know what discussions they had. Indeed, unless there is any written documentation of meetings/discussions/letters then it would be very difficult to determine. 

Yes, they could (and probably should) have taken the information to the police and let them deal with it. Difficult to say without getting all the facts, which will be impossible. As @Demitri_C says, it is a different ownership/leadership/club and really should look at the individuals rather than the club as a whole if they are to investigate. They speak to the Assistant Manager who has "lawyered up" now and Doug who, as we know, does not appear to be that all too "compus mentus". The abuser has now died so can't convict him for this, even though he was convicted in 2007 for other abuses anyway. 

However, it is important to note that, as is stated in the article:

Quote

Then, as now, there was no legal requirement for Dave Richardson or Aston Villa to report concerns about Ted Langford to the authorities.

So technically the club did nothing wrong as a starting point (morally, I agree is different of course).

Should that change? Maybe. Rather than simply prosecuting all of the old celebrities/footballers/etc the powers that be should learn from the lessons to make sure this doesn't happen in the future. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...
Â