Glasgow & West Scotland

Ayrshire priest jailed for child sex abuse has appeal upheld

Father Paul Moore Image copyright Iain McLellan/Spindrift Photo Agency
Image caption Father Moore was originally jailed for nine years

A Catholic priest jailed for sexually abusing three children and a student priest has had his sentence reduced on appeal.

Father Paul Moore, 83, committed the crimes in various locations in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996.

Moore was jailed for nine years at Glasgow High Court in March but this was cut to eight by a panel of three judges.

Sentencing judge Lady Rae told Moore he was guilty of despicable crimes.

At his trial in March, the court heard how Moore abused one boy at a school, another at a leisure centre and a third on the beach at Irvine in the 1970s.

He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting a student priest in 1995.

Judge Lady Rae told Moore he was guilty of despicable crimes and a gross breach of trust, whilst praising the victims' considerable courage in coming forward.

Moore's legal team appealed against the sentence for the student priest attack and this was upheld by a panel of three judges at a hearing in Edinburgh, with the sentence cut to eight years.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJudge Lady Rae said Moore took advantage of his position

The youngest of Moore's victims was just five when the priest abused him in his primary school.

The court heard that Moore groomed some of his victims by taking them swimming or out for meals before sexually abusing them.

A BBC Scotland investigation revealed five years ago that Moore confessed his abuse to his bishop in 1996.

Bishop Maurice Taylor, 91, gave evidence in the trial and told the court Moore admitted he had "an attraction to young boys" and had "a desire to abuse minors".

The bishop sent him to a treatment centre in Toronto and to Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands.

Moore - who was identified in court as Francis Moore but was known as Father Paul - was removed from the pastoral ministry after his admission but continued to live in a house bought by the church.

After sentencing in March, the Catholic Church in Scotland said it wished to "sincerely renew" its apologies to victims.

More on this story