English Premier League club Chelsea has apologized for the "terrible past experiences" of some former youth players after an investigation into child sexual abuse. Barrister Charles Geekie found that Eddie Heath, who coached Chelsea's youth teams from 1968-1979, was a "dangerous and prolific child abuser. His conduct was beyond reprehensible."
Geekie said the abuse by Heath, who died in 1983, "was able to occur unchallenged," and his report documented "the life-changing impact it had on those affected." Former Crewe manager Dario Gradi, who was suspended by the Football Association in 2016 amid separate investigations, was criticized by Geekie for failing to stop Heath when working at Chelsea in the early 1970s.
"Mr. Gradi is the single example of a clear account of an adult in a position of responsibility at the club being informed about an allegation in relation to Mr. Heath at the very time of the events complained of," Geekie said. The 252-page report by Geekie details how Heath targeted vulnerable boys, earning their trust, abusing them and then using "fear to secure silence". Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has met with 17 of the abuse survivors, with the club saying compensation will be paid.
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