Chelsea Football Club pays out five figure sums for sexual abuse by ex-Chief Scout Edward Heath

June 12, 2020

Posted by: Rebecca Sheriff


We successfully settled claims for compensation for two ex-professional football players that played for Chelsea Football Club (CFC).

Our clients suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Edward Heath, who was the chief scout for CFC in the 1970’s.

Heath died in 1983 without ever being prosecuted for these crimes but since his death, as a result of ex-CFC player Gary Johnson bravely speaking out about the abuse he suffered, many more victims have come forward to disclose sexual abuse that they too suffered at the hands of Heath, whilst at the club.

As a result of the allegations, CFC instructed Charles Geekie QC to investigate non-recent child sexual abuse at the club and this culminated in a 247 page report known as the Geekie Report in July 2019.

Evidence from 23 witnesses details how Heath groomed and abused young boys between the ages of 10-17 years old in the 1970’s.

Our two clients were amongst those that gave evidence to the Geekie Inquiry about the abuse that they suffered and their identities are anonymised in the report to protect their privacy.

The Report confirmed that, on the balance of probabilities, Heath had sexually abused children as alleged whilst they were in CFC’s care; “I am satisfied that Mr Heath was a prolific, manipulative and sophisticated sexual abuser. The abuse perpetrated by him was planned and systematic, not opportunistic. He committed his most serious acts of abuse in private”.

The report was also heavily critical of Dario Gradi who is accused of failing to tell more senior club staff about an allegation regarding the sexual conduct of Heath, brought to him by a parent of a young player.  The report states that the alleged failure by Gradi to report the claim ‘was a lost opportunity to expose Heath and prevent further abuse.’

Following this, a number of clients contacted Bolt Burdon Kemp for representation in civil claims against CFC for the sexual, physical and emotional abuse that Heath also inflicted upon them decades before as children.

Numerous claims have since been brought and we have now successfully settled two of these cases against the club.  In both cases, CFC has paid five figure sums to our clients for the abuse that they suffered and the impact it has had upon them.  In addition, the club has also offered to apologise to our clients for what they went through.

It is hoped that with the compensation, our clients will now have access to private medical treatment which will help them to process what happened to them when they were children and the acknowledgement from CFC will serve as some form of justice for them even though Heath escaped unpunished for his despicable acts.

Rebecca Sheriff is a partner in the Abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.  If you feel you may have a claim or are enquiring on behalf of a loved one, contact Rebecca free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4827 or at rebeccasheriff@boltburdonkemp.co.uk.  Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Abuse team will contact you.  Find out more about the Abuse team.

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Posted by: Rebecca Sheriff

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