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Retired priest convicted of historical sexual abuse

Father Francis Moore caused 'immeasurable damage' to four victims over a 19-year period.

Abuse: A trainee priest was among the victims (file pic).
Abuse: A trainee priest was among the victims (file pic).

A retired priest has been convicted of the historical sexual abuse of three young boys and a trainee priest.

Father Francis Moore, 82, was told by a judge he had abused his position as a parish priest and caused "immeasurable damage" to his victims.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the allegations against Father Moore, also known as Father Paul, were first raised in 1996, but it was not until 2015 that a major police investigation was launched.

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

His youngest victim was just five when the priest abused him in his primary school.

The man, now aged 46, told the court he was abused by Father Moore on four or five occasions over a six-month period.

Another victim, who has been a priest for more than 20 years, told the jury that on two separate occasions he woke to find Moore beside his bed with his hands under the covers.

The offences were committed a period of 19 years between 1977 and 1996 at various locations around Ayrshire.

Bishop Maurice Taylor told the court that Moore admitted he had "an attraction to young boys" and had "a desire to abuse minors".

As a result of this Moore was sent to a specialist clinic in Toronto for his problem. When he returned from Canada he was told he could no longer be a parish priest.

He now faces a lengthy prison sentence when he returns to court in April.

Judge Lady Rae told him: "You have abused your position as a priest in the most horrible manner.

"You have been convicted of, particularly in relation to the young children, appalling abuse.

"The damage such conduct does to young people is immeasurable."

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