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Sex abuse victim launches fight against disgraced chairman
A young man subjected to years of sexual abuse at the hands of disgraced football chairman Ken Hughes has appealed for witnesses to come forward and help in his fight for justice.
The 22-year-old was one of the many victims who endured appalling abuse at the hands of the former Oldham Town FC chairman, who was jailed today (Friday, 30 April 2010) for a catalogue of offences against young boys. Now, after finding the courage to speak about the degrading attacks he suffered, the young man is appealing for any other victims or anyone who might have known Mr Hughes to come forward as he begins his fight for compensation for the injuries he sustained.
"I started going to Oldham Town's football ground on Whitebank Road in Limeside in 2002, when I was 14," said the young man, who has asked not to be named. "A lot of boys used to go there and one of my friends took me. I played in the snooker and pool teams, and it was fun," he said. "I began to go there every day. I would go into school and get my registration mark, and then leave to go to play pool and snooker.
"The abuse began just a couple of weeks after I started going in there," he said. "The first time it happened I was on my own, near to the bar area. I knew who Ken Hughes was, that he founded Oldham Town FC and was the club's chairman, and that he lived in a flat at the ground. He came up to me and began to touch me - I didn't know what to do," he said. "After this first time it happened on a daily basis, and the attacks soon got much worse."
The victim said Mr Hughes threatened there would be consequences if the young boy told anyone of the abuse. "I couldn't get my head around what was happening to me," he said. "I was afraid of what he was doing to me, but I was too scared to tell anyone."
Although the abuse initially only happened when there was no-one else in the club, the victim said Mr Hughes later began to ply other young boys with alcohol and involve them in sexual acts.
"I suppose I got used to what was happening to me," said the young victim. "Once it has happened so often for such a long time it becomes the normality," he said. "No-one ever dared say no."
In November last year, the young man - who still suffers panic attacks and struggles to sleep because of what happened to him - plucked up the courage to tell police of the years of abuse he had suffered at the hands of Mr Hughes.
Angela Dobbs, a legal expert specialising in helping the victims of violent and sexual crimes, is representing the victim in this case. "My client is pleased with the outcome of today's sentencing, but his own personal fight for justice is only beginning," she said. "It has taken a long time for this young man to find the strength to talk about what happened to him. We hope that the bravery he has shown in breaking his silence will inspire anyone who might be able to help to now come forward."
Miss Dobbs explained that the claim was being brought through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. "Because the CICA is a government scheme, the amount of damages we can hope to recover for this man is limited," she said. "However, we are seeking to identify any assets Mr Hughes may have so that we can bring a claim against him directly and improve the chances of obtaining an amount which better reflects the physical and emotional trauma caused to our client.
"These events caused unimaginable suffering to a great many people, and the victims are still living with the effects of what Mr Hughes did to them," she said. "We desperately need help if we are going to succeed in winning justice on their behalf," she said.
Can you help?
If you think you might be able to help, please contact Angela Dobbs at Fentons Solicitors LLP on 0161 684 6643. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence, and any detail could be hugely important to this case.
Media reports - Manchester Evening News
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