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Former football coach jailed for rape of 15-year-old in the 1970s

Michael Coleman, a 79-year-old former youth football coach from Bolton, has been sentenced to eight years in jail for sexual assault including the rape of a 15-year-old boy he coached during the 1970s.

Posted on 25 February 2022

The offences began after the boy had been at the football club for approximately four months and started with assaulting him in the showers after night training, Bolton Crown Court heard.

On another occasion Coleman took the boy out drinking in Bolton and then brought him back to his flat where he assaulted him. A police spokesman stated that Coleman raped the teenager at his flat after another night out.

Coleman, a former leisure centre manager, was found guilty of four counts of indecently assaulting the boy and one count of rape.

The jail sentence follows Coleman’s previous conviction in 2018, when he received a seven-year term for three counts of sexual assault against boys ages 12 and 13 during the 1980s. The teenager who was abused by Coleman in the 1970s went to the police after hearing about those crimes.

In a victim statement read out in court the former young footballer told how the abuse he suffered from Coleman later led to him drinking, caused the break-up of his marriage and loss of his job and he was emotionally distant from his sons.

Coelman’s 2018 conviction was the result of a nationwide investigation by the Greater Manchester Police, NSPCC, the Football Association and others to identify non-recent sexual abuse offenders in sport.

Leigh Day partner in the abuse team Dino Nocivelli said:

“This case highlights the fact that regardless of when the abuse took place, the police are under a duty to investigate and look to prosecute sexual abusers for the crimes that they commit. The impact of Coleman’s abuse has had a significant impact on his victim’s life and I hope that he finds some closure from Coleman’s conviction and prison sentence.”