April 2010

Former Oldham Town chairman jailed over child sex abuse

A former football club chairman who sexually abused 16 children over four decades has been jailed indefinitely.

Kenneth Hughes, 65, of White Bank Road, Oldham, pleaded guilty to 39 sexual offences at an earlier hearing.

He was chairman of non-league Oldham Town at the time, and many offences took place at the club, police said.

He was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a minimum term of seven years, at Minshull Street Crown Court.

The offences included sexual activity with a child, indecency with a child and paying for sexual services of child.

Hughes abused the boys, who are not thought to have played for the club, from 1966 to 2008, police said.

‘Gifts and alcohol’

He would gain favour with boys who wanted to play football with gifts and alcohol.

Det Sgt Jason Byrne, from Oldham CID, said: “He used his position of authority within the club and the community to gain the trust of innocent young boys, and then completely abused that and subjected these boys to a traumatic ordeal

“Although his abuse continued for a sustained period of time, these boys found the courage in adulthood to come forward and thanks to their bravery, his crimes have finally caught up with him and he is where he belongs – in jail.

“Throughout this investigation we have worked closely with the club itself.

“And I would also like to praise everyone involved for their help and professionalism during what has been an extremely difficult time.

“I want to stress that these were the actions of one man – no one else.”

The club changed its name to Oldham Boro, after Hughes was charged with the offences.

David Shepherd, who was Secretary at Oldham Town and remains secretary of the new club, said: “We knew nothing of what was going on.

“We were deceived and used for what he was doing. We are disgusted.”