Glasgow & West Scotland

Celtic agree 'significant' compensation for sex abuse victim

Jim McCafferty Image copyright Alan lewis
Image caption Jim McCafferty worked at Celtic more than 20 years ago

A former youth player at Celtic has been awarded "significant" compensation from the club after being sexually abused by a coach.

The Parkhead club has admitted liability for historic abuse carried out by convicted paedophile Jim McCafferty.

The award was made to the victim, who cannot be named, by the Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh.

The man claimed his mental health was affected by abuse during the 1990s.

The victim's lawyer, abuse specialist Kim Leslie, said: "For decades my client suffered as a result of McCafferty's abuse so above all else I'd like to pay tribute to him for the courage he has shown in stepping forward after coming to terms with what happened.

"Ever since McCafferty's abuse was exposed, Celtic FC remained firm in its defence and denial of responsibility.

"However, after thorough investigations I was able to present a robust case which resulted in the club admitting liability.

"I hope the successful end to this legal action brings closure to my client and also brings hope to those who considering a civil action of their own."

The exact amount of the payout has not been disclosed, but was described as "significant".

Image caption McCafferty (far left) pictured with a Celtic youth team

In May, 73-year-old Jim McCafferty admitted 10 charges of indecent assault, one charge of lewd and libidinous behaviour, and a breach of the peace.

The offences were carried out against 10 teenage boys between 1972 and 1996.

He was jailed for six years and nine months. He was already serving a jail term for abusing a teenage boy in Belfast.

McCafferty was a coach and kit man for the Celtic youth team and also worked for Celtic Boys Club.

In his career he also worked at Hibernian and Falkirk football clubs.

The incidents took place in several locations across Scotland - including team showers, hotel rooms and mini buses - over several decades from the 1970s onwards.

'Legal trickery'

The move sparked anger from other survivors of abuse connected to the club.

Thompsons Solicitors partner Patrick McGuire, who is representing some of McCafferty's victims in civil cases, said: "The Scottish public can draw their own conclusions over the fact that the club tried to keep this secret and have issued no apology.

"The club need to consider the effect all this has on Boys Club survivors. Using legal trickery to winnow through abuse claims is abhorrent.

"Instead of listening to their spin doctors the club should meet with us and our clients now.

"Openness and decency is the way out of this for Celtic. We again appeal to Peter Lawell and the board to do the right thing."

A spokesman for Celtic FC strongly denied Mr McGuire's claims, including that it had tried to keep the case "secret".

"We deliberately did not comment on the news story this morning for reasons of respect for the victim of the historic abuse at the hands of Jim McCafferty," he said.

The spokesman said the settlement was based on legal advice and "is evidence alone of the club's willingness to meet its obligations".

"We did not ask for a confidentiality agreement to be signed or keep this case 'a secret', so for Mr McGuire to suggest otherwise is completely untrue. We have, however, conducted this matter with sensitivity and discretion, which we think is the considerate and appropriate approach."

The spokesman added that the club had "very clearly and publicly" expressed "enormous sympathy for all victims of historic abuse, which has occurred across many different organisations".

"We will continue to follow the proper processes, as we have done from the outset, and to meet all of our obligations."

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