Haitian soccer president accused of sexually abusing players - Breaking News

Haitian soccer president accused of sexually abusing players

The longtime president of the Haitian national soccer team’s governing body has been accused of sexually abusing multiple young players at the country’s training complex.

Yves Jean-Bart, the head of the Haitian Football Federation for the past two decades, allegedly used the threat of expulsion from the training center against fearful young females to commit numerous criminal acts within the past five years, multiple sources told The Guardian. Jean-Bart, widely known as “Dadou,” denied the charges.

“There is a lady who works there who puts pressure on the girls to have sex with Dadou,” an alleged victim told the Guardian. “He will see a nice girl who is attractive and he sends the lady to tell her that she is going to be thrown out of the centre. She starts crying and then the lady says: ‘The only way to resolve this is to speak to Dadou.’ At that moment, the young girl has no choice but to put up with the sexual abuse.”

Another alleged victim was reportedly impregnated by Jean-Bart and had an abortion at the age of 17.

“She was put under pressure not to talk,” a former player said. “Another of our best young players lost her virginity to Dadou when she was 17 in 2018 and also had to abort. These girls who live at the FIFA center … it’s such a shame because they want to play for the country but if they speak about this situation they will be fired. They are hostages.”

In February, Jean-Bart was elected for the sixth time as president of the federation. He claims the accusations are “clearly a maneuver to destabilize the FHF, the character of the president and his family.”

“[There has] never been any complaint against the federation, nor against the staff engaged in our academy, nor against my person,” Jean-Bart said. “This kind of practice of sexual abuse is almost impossible in our camp center given the physical structures, the principles of education and continuous awareness that we have put in place.

“I would not encourage such practices in Haitian football, much less in the center which is under my responsibility. If there were such cases, I would encourage the victims to file a complaint with the federation and the judicial authorities of the country. We are ready, at the level of the federation, to support them.

“To date, in women’s football in Haiti, where there are generations of players who are now 50 or 60 years old, there has never been, to my knowledge, even suspicions of this kind. Personally I am and I have been a non-violent man. I don’t understand how someone can make me look like an executioner to the point where families would feel intimidated by me.”

Players often move to the training center as teenagers, often from impoverished backgrounds. The complex was funded by FIFA and opened in 2001.

The alleged victims stayed silent due to Jean-Bart’s influence.

“I’m so afraid. Dadou Jean-Bart is a very dangerous person,” another alleged victim said. “There are a lot of people who want to talk but they’re so afraid, especially for the parents who are still in Haiti.”

One of Jean-Bart’s friends has also been accused of attempting to rape a Haitian star, while she was living at the suburban complex, outside of Port-au-Prince.

“She managed to get away from him and her parents know the situation,” said another source who is close to the player’s family. “But Dadou has tried everything to keep it quiet.”

The Haitian football federation also is facing scrutiny for misuse of up to $6 million in funds from FIFA. Several sources said the training center hasn’t been maintained and is falling apart.

“The last time I set foot there, I wanted to vomit,” said a former coach at the center. “It is despicable. Ten kids sleep in every room, there are no sheets, no clean toilets. It’s unimaginable. Where did the money go? The federation received millions, and they didn’t even buy sheets.

“This center. is a nightmare. FIFA’s inspectors came, we thought they were going to say something, but it didn’t happen. It’s impossible. How can they say nothing? The young people have no medical monitoring, they eat the same thing every day – rice, pasta, bananas, chicken – drink water that you wouldn’t ever drink and in the meantime the FA officials have their own doctor and organize banquets. It is obscene.”

The federation denied the facility is in a dilapidated state.

“These are modern and more than decent facilities and all our foreign visitors come out amazed by the beauty of the place and the efforts made by our young people and our managers to keep it very correct,” the federation said. “We are making a lot of effort to increase the self-esteem of our young people and their supervisors, otherwise they would not have been able to achieve such beautiful feats in the face of the countries of America and the Caribbean, clothing and other needs all year round.”