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Celtic Boys Club abuse survivors threaten legal action

Solicitors called on Celtic FC to 'live up to its moral responsibilities'.

Jim Torbett: Jailed this week for abusing three boys.
Jim Torbett: Jailed this week for abusing three boys.

Survivors of sexual abuse at a youth football club are threatening legal action against Celtic FC.

Thompsons Solicitors is representing ten men who were abused while playing for the Celtic Boys Club.

In a statement, the lawyers said the time has come for Celtic to "live up to its moral responsibilities".

The move comes following the conviction of Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett on Monday.

Torbett had denied abusing two former youth players and another boy between 1986 and 1994.

But the 71-year-old was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday and jailed for six years. He was also placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely.

Following the conviction the club released an official statement which said: "Following the conviction of Mr James Torbett at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Celtic Football Club wishes to express our deep regret that the incidents took place and sympathy for the victims who suffered abuse.

"Although Celtic Football Club is an entirely separate organisation, we have always taken these allegations extremely seriously because of our historic contacts with Celtic Boys' Club."

Patrick McGuire, partner at Thompsons and a specialist in historical abuse cases, said the club has a duty to "right the wrongs of the past."

He said: "What was laid bare during the Torbett trial and his sentencing is this man was an evil and committed paedophile who operated as part of Celtic. He was part of Celtic and any attempt by the club to say he wasn't is preposterous. He abused young boys whose only dream was to play for the club."

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1432604-celtic-express-deep-regret-over-boys-club-sex-abuse/ | default

Mr McGuire continued: "What myself and my clients cannot fathom is why Celtic continue to ignore and dismiss the impact of these disgraceful crimes committed under their watch. The effect that Torbett's actions have had on my clients cannot be described.

"I have sat with these men and listened to them recount what happened to them and how it ruined their lives. I can tell you it is absolutely heartbreaking. 

"It is all the more shocking when you think that this happened while they were supposed to be under the protection of one of Scotland's most well known and loved institutions, Celtic Football Club."

Mr McGuire appealed directly to Celtic's directors to meet with the survivors and "get this situation sorted out".

He added: "I want to say to them, as those who promote themselves as a community football club with high ethical values, how on earth can you allow this situation to continue?

'What makes me so sad is the way Celtic have just ignored me and other survivors'
Kenny Campbell

"Children in your care who worshiped Celtic were horrifically abused and you still won't accept responsibility. How can you square this with your conscience?

"This is an opportunity for Celtic to right the wrongs of the past and to lead the way in Scottish football where a club believes survivors and lives up to their responsibilities.

"I truly hope you do, but if not then we will see you in court."

One of the survivors being represented by Thompsons is former Celtic Boys Club player Kenny Campbell, who was abused as a child by Torbett.

He said: "What makes me so sad is the way Celtic have just ignored me and other survivors. I see they have an issued some sort of apology but it's not enough.

"They need to accept responsibility for what was done in their name and settle these legal cases. There will be many other survivors out there who were abused at Celtic and I hope they come forward.

"The club has to face up to this and just do the right thing."

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