Scotland

Football sex abuse scandal: Youth 'trafficked' by paedophiles

Malcolm Rodger Image copyright Malcolm Rodger
Image caption Malcolm Rodger described how he felt "trapped, frozen and scared" because of sex offender Bill Kelly

A former youth footballer has claimed he was sexually abused by a notorious paedophile after being trafficked from Scotland to England.

Malcolm Rodger said he was assaulted by ex-coach Barry Bennell after being introduced to him by convicted sex offender Bill Kelly.

He also told BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime with John Beattie he was abused during a tournament in Spain.

The Scottish Football Association is currently investigating historic abuse.

A spokesperson said: "The Scottish FA awaits the final report into sexual abuse in Scottish football and it would be inappropriate to make any comment prior to that."

Image copyright Malcolm Rodger
Image caption Malcolm Rodger played for a successful youth team in West Lothian when he was 13

Mr Rodger, who has waived his anonymity, named a third man who abused him as former Celtic Boys' Club coach Jim McCafferty, who was jailed last year.

The former soldier has also described his ordeal in an interview with Channel Four News.

The leader of the Independent Review of Sexual Abuse in Scottish Football, Martin Henry, told the programme he only obtained evidence of trafficking in the last month.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Bennell worked for Crewe Alexandra and Manchester City's youth teams

Mr Rodger was 13 when he signed for Uphall Saints Boys' Club in West Lothian.

The team were prolific trophy winners and acted as a feeder club for professional sides.

His coach was a man called Bill Kelly, who would later be jailed for a catalogue of sex offences against 12 victims over a 22-year period.

Mr Rodger said: "He (Kelly) initially said to my parents that I showed an abundance of talent but extra training would elicit further doors being opened for me and a potential professional career.

"Obviously at that young, tender, unknowledgeable age I did not know what was happening to me.

"I was then put in an environment where I was trapped, frozen, scared, did not know where to turn.

"It effectively changed my character over the two years over which he and others went on to abuse me."

In 1984 the team travelled to Blackpool and Mr Rodger said it was in the seaside town where Bill Kelly introduced him to Barry Bennell.

In 2018 Bennell was described by a judge as the "devil incarnate" as he was jailed for 31 years for 50 counts of child sexual abuse between 1979 and 1991.

Last year Manchester City set up a child sexual abuse victim payment scheme to compensate victims of the former coach,

Mr Rodger said his experiences, which have been detailed in two statements of fact to his solicitor, have left some of those who read them "visibly upset".

He estimates Kelly abused him up to 30 times over two seasons in Scotland, England and abroad.

Mr Rodger said: "He took me to Spain for an international football tournament and abused me constantly for 10 days.

"At that time he introduced me to Barry Bennell for a second time and basically stood and watched guard as Barry Bennell abused me."

Image copyright Alan lewis
Image caption Jim McCafferty worked at Celtic more than 20 years ago

Mr Rodger said Kelly also introduced him to Jim McCafferty, who was coaching for another West Lothian team, Almondvale, in Fauldhouse.

And he said was abused by McCafferty at county level training sessions.

Channel Four News tracked down Bill Kelly, who was jailed for 12 months in 1997.

But he claimed Mr Rodger's allegations of trafficking were categorically "not true".

Asked what he had to say to his victims, Mr Kelly said: "I'm sorry if I upset you, if that's the case. Oh yes, it ruins lives."

Mr Rodger met SFA chief executive Iain Maxwell and child wellbeing and protection manager Alyson Evans after he spoke to The Times last month.

He now wants the game's governing body to either publically admit or deny liability for a problem he said affected hundreds of young footballers.

Mr Rodger added: "You can't undo what has happened. I am not asking them to change what happened to me. I am asking them to face up to their responsibilities."

To this day the psychological impact is such that he suffers "daily" flashbacks.

Mr Rodger said: "I can remember the bedroom door getting shut.

"I can remember the changing room door getting closed.

"I can remember what was said to me and what was promised to me.

"I can remember the clatter of football studs and then being faced in a changing room with a grown man and that will never leave me."

Celtic 'appalled'

The second part of Channel Four News' Scottish football investigation will focus on Celtic.

On Wednesday the Scottish champions issued a statement about historic abuse, an issue which has dogged the team since the convictions of men with links to Celtic Boys Club.

In November 2018 Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett, 71, was jailed for six years after being convicted of sexually abusing three boys over an eight-year period.

Jim McCafferty, who was a coach and kit man for the Celtic youth team and also worked for Celtic Boys Club, was jailed for six years and nine months.

In court, he admitted 12 charges related to child sex abuse against 10 teenage boys between 1972 and 1996.

The Celtic statement said it was "appalled by any form of historic abuse" and has "great sympathy" for the victims and their families.

It continued: "The club is very sorry that these events took place. The abuse of young people is an abhorrent crime."

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