Glasgow & West Scotland

Paedophile priest defrocked by the Pope

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

A paedophile priest has had his clerical status removed by the Pope.

Paul Moore, who was a parish priest in Ayrshire, is serving an eight-year sentence for the sexual abuse of three young boys 40 years ago.

He was informed of the Pope's decision by the Bishop of Galloway, William Nolan, who visited him in Dumfries Prison on Friday.

Moore, who is 83, will no longer be able to call himself "father" or offer spiritual care.

Stripping the clergyman of his status is known as laicising - to withdraw clerical stature.

There is no appeal against the Pope's decision.

'Comfort to victims'

Before he told Moore, Bishop Nolan wrote to inform his victims of the decision.

He said: "Sadly it took 20 years for him to be brought to trial, so it has been a long wait to see him held account for his crimes.

"Though it will not undo the harm he has done, hopefully the decision of the Holy Father to laicise him will bring some comfort to yourself and to all those he has abused."

Image caption Bishop William Nolan informed Moore of the decision in Dumfries prison

One of Moore's victims told BBC Scotland: "The denial (by Moore) has finally been brought to a conclusion. Some of us have been been abused twice. Once by Moore, thereafter by "the process" that brought him to eventual justice.

"To be fair, the current leadership of the Diocese of Galloway has been very considerate in it's manner of steering matters towards closure".

Moore groomed his victims by taking them swimming or out for meals. The youngest child he abused was five years old.

He was charged following a BBC Scotland Investigation.

The BBC said Moore had confessed his abuse to his bishop in 1996.

He was successful in having his original sentence reduced from nine years, but his conviction for offences against boys between 1977-81 remained.

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

'No responsibility'

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

Papers to remove Moore's clerical status were previously served on him in prison.

The Catholic Church will no longer have any responsibility to provide Moore with housing, medical care or financial benefits when he is released from prison.

He was removed from the pastoral ministry after his admission to Bishop Taylor, but continued to live in a house bought by the church.

After he was jailed, the Catholic Church in Scotland said it wished to "sincerely renew" its apologies to victims.

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