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Coach Bascome: ‘I’ve been molested’

Overcome by emotion: Andrew Bascome at a press conference yesterday morning (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Brothers Andrew and David Bascome yesterday told a press conference they had been sexually abused in their early football careers.

Andrew Bascome, the Bermuda coach, broke down in tears as he told the media “I’ve been molested”, later explaining to The Royal Gazette that it took place when he was a schoolboy player.

“It was happening when I was a player at North Village by one of the players and it went on for years,” Mr Bascome said.

He said he had been targeted by an older player, adding: “He got the trust. It was just shameful.”

His brother, David, a former professional in the United States, also spoke at the press conference, saying that he had been “in that same position of being molested”.

The pair — two of the island’s best-known players and coaches — were speaking in the wake of claims from Maceo Dill, a coach and colleague at ABC Football Foundation, that the local game has been widely affected by sexual abuse.

After their remarks, Mr Dill called for a criminal investigation to determine “how many more” had been targeted.

The Bascome brothers were at a press conference to announce ABC Football Foundation’s new drive to raise $250,000 next year for community work.

Andrew Bascome told the gathered media: “I’ve been molested and it was just football for me.

“All I want to do is just teach football and give back to football, and try to just help that one kid that might not have no hope and feel worthless and useless.”

Speaking to this newspaper after the press conference, Mr Bascome said the experiences he had suffered “made it hard to trust — it’s hard to get attached”.

He called for tougher security and vetting for those linked to youth sports to help to minimise the risk of sexual abuse.

Mr Bascome said his work as a coach helped to protect him from the memories of years of torment.

“It’s nights — it’s when I’m alone. As long as I’m coaching, it doesn’t come into my mind,” he said. “I just feel like I’m in a good space. It’s dealing with it after.”

He said the abuse had not affected his commitment and love of the game, adding: “I’m a good person — it’s difficult to talk about.”

He said the abuse started in the early 1980s and continued for several years, adding that he was too ashamed to report the catalogue of sex abuse to police or responsible adults.

“I just felt so ashamed,” he said. “I didn’t know. I ask myself that, too.”

He added he still sees the predator who targeted him around the island, but tries to avoid contact with him.

“I try not to see him — I try my best not to see him,” he said.

David Bascome told the press conference: “You all may know me for doing everything I can for young people.

“What we are witnessing now is what this game means to us, what this game means to other young people and also what this game just means for Bermuda.

“This was our way out and we found our safe place and, as my brother speaks, I will let you know I was also in the same position as him, being in that same position of being molested. I’ve been there.”

Last week, Mr Dill, said he was aware that several former players had suffered sexual abuse by people linked to the island’s clubs. • On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on what we consider to be a controversial or contentious story. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.