January 14 – The shocking scale of the sexual abuse carried out by the former boss of Haitian football, Yves Jean-Bart, has been laid bare by the full report of his transgressions released by FIFA.
In November FIFA’s ethics committee found Jean-Bart guilty of “having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused various female players, including minors” from 2014. He was also fined CHF1 million for his reign of terror.
FIFA subsequently took control of the Haitian FA via a normalisation committee after it found “strong indications” that Jean-Bart was still exerting his influence despite his ban that followed multiple well-sourced accusations of systematic sexual abuse of female players.
Jean-Bart, who is appealing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport , says the allegations against him been fabricated and that rumours that he fathered children with teenage girls are preposterous since he claims he is infertile.
But in its full legal reasoning, FIFA said there were 14 alleged victims saying Jean-Bart, who ran his federation for 20 years and sat on several FIFA committees, allegedly raped girls as young as 14 and took “habitual mistresses” among players.
The 45-page document said “many of the girls from very poor backgrounds became known as his ‘restaveks,’ a Haitian term for a child slave.”
One 14-year-old player allegedly became pregnant by Jean-Bart and was taken to have an abortion.
“Mr. Jean-Bart’s behaviour is simply inexcusable, a disgrace for any football official, and represents a very dark stain on the image and reputation of football as a sport loved by so many, whose principal value and credo is ‘fair play’,” concluded the chairperson of FIFA’s adjudicatory chamber, Vassilios Skouris. “The pain and suffering he has caused his various victims of sexual harassment and abuse cannot even be fully comprehended.”
The abuse, first revealed by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, is said to have mainly taken place at the country’s national training centre which FIFA helped fund. Players who refused Jean-Bart’s advances were expelled from the training centre and national team.
Jean-Bart’s conduct “created a very complex and extremely harmful system of sexual abuse and exploitation of female players”, says the full findings, adding Jean-Bart took advantage of his position “to coerce or convince the [minor] female players to engage in sexual activity with him, by promising to help or threatening to damage their football careers”.
“While claiming that he was developing Haitian football, in particular women’s competitions and teams, Mr Jean-Bart did the exact opposite: he abused his position in order to satisfy his personal attitude of domination over the most fragile people, destroying the careers and lives of young promising female players.”
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