A High Court judge has told Blackpool FC to pay more than £19,000 to a man who was sexually abused as a child by a former club scout. Frank Roper a convicted pedophile was not paid by the club, but worked “exclusively on Blackpool’s behalf” in the 80s and then died in 2005.
The court heard the victim, then aged 13, was abused during a football tour in the 80s and who cannot be identified for legal reasons, came forward in the wake of a series of former footballers going public with their own stories of abuse as children. They included former Blackpool star Paul Stewart, who spoke of his ordeal in 2016.
Although there were no witnesses and the allegations came to light after Roper’s death, Mr Justice Griffiths said he found the man to be a “transparently sincere and honest witness” and the evidence was “entirely plausible and convincing”. The victim described how Roper, who was convicted of four indecent assaults against young boys that took place prior to the incident, told him he would have to stay in his room one night, and insisted they shared a bed before groping him.
Blackpool FC had denied it was liable for Roper’s actions as he was not a club employee, however the judge said Roper “was very much doing the work of the club”, albeit as an unpaid volunteer, like most of the non-playing staff and added that the club’s actions since the allegations came to light had “made things worse” for the victim, who has suffered mental health problems since disclosing the abuse. It was agreed Blackpool FC should pay £2,071.98 to cover the cost of cognitive behavioural therapy, while the victim was awarded a further £17,000 in damages.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted on 0800 9555 094 or 0330 300 1103.