Four years for coach who abused boys

A FOOTBALL coach convicted of sexually abusing boys has been jailed for four years.

Graham Long committed the offences during a two-year period when he lived in Leeds.

On occasions boys stayed overnight at his home and he shared a mattress or bed with them, telling them it was to keep them safe but he went on to touch them, or himself, sexually during the night.

The offences came to light when one of the youngsters told an adult what had happened, Sophie Drake prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

Richard Reed, representing Long, said he had indicated to a psychiatrist that he had no recollection of committing the offences, which might indicate he was still a man "in denial struggling to come to terms with the enormity of his actions". But he had pleaded guilty and "made it clear he was thoroughly ashamed and disgusted with his behaviour".

He had worked with a number of other boys over the years without any problems.

Long, 46, recently of Talbot Road, Blackpool, admitted five charges of sexual assault on three boys.

Jailing him, Judge Scott Wolstenholme said the most aggravating feature of the case was the "gross breach of trust" involving vulnerable youngsters who were in his care.

He had been respected for his work with the junior football club but had abused the victims involved for his own sexual gratification. That had a serious impact on the boys concerned.

Ordering him to register as a sex offender for life, the judge also barred him under a Sexual Offences Prevention Order from seeking any employment or voluntary work when released likely to allow him unsupervised access to children under 16 or inviting anyone under 16

unsupervised into his residence.