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Celtic to face legal action 'within weeks' over sex abuse

Around 20 abuse survivors are suing the Glasgow club following an independent review.

Celtic: Abuse survivors are suing the club.
Celtic: Abuse survivors are suing the club. SNSGroup

Celtic are to be sued "within weeks" over sexual abuse at its feeder club.

Around 20 abuse survivors are taking legal action against the Glasgow club following the Scottish FA's independent review into sexual abuse within the game.

The review said Celtic are "inextricably" linked to the boys club after senior figures from the set-up were convicted for molesting young players.

Jim McCafferty, 73, of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, was jailed for six years and nine months in May after pleading guilty to 11 charges related to paedophile activity against ten victims over several decades.

That followed the jailing in November last year of James Torbett, who had been involved in setting up Celtic Boys Club, for what the court described as "depraved conduct" against three boys over an eight-year period in the 1980s and 1990s.

In February former youth football manager Frank Cairney was jailed for four years after being found guilty of historical sex offences from his time running a church youth team and, later, Celtic Boys Club.

Patrick McGuire, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors, said: "We are suing within weeks. 

"We have been quietly building our case for a long time now. That evidence has all been put together and we're putting the final pieces in place now.

"The additional information from the review helped but it's by no means the pivotal reason.

"In reality, despite what's been suggested, we've been making every effort to follow due process to engage with Celtic's lawyers and we've been met with a wall of silence or a complete and utter lack of engagement. The time has come for this - it's our only choice.

"The survivors of abuse at Celtic don't want these things being dragged out.

"They want the organisation to quickly acknowledge the wrongs that have taken place. They want them to apologise and face up to the consequences which involves financial regress."

Celtic have previously distanced themselves from having any involvement from the boys club.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1438164-celtic-s-response-to-sexual-abuse-scandal-condemned-by-msps/ | default

In letters released to the Press Association, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell stated: "The first misconception is that the club is doing nothing and abdicating responsibility. That is simply not true."

Instead he claimed legal processes meant the club was "constrained" in what it could say publicly, describing it as being "highly frustrating for all".

But he also insisted it was not appropriate to discuss sensitive legal matters "through newspapers or on social media".

The Celtic chief executive said: "Some time ago our insurers appointed a wholly independent and experienced lawyer who is investigating and dealing with this matter on behalf of the club.

"It would be quite inappropriate for us to be discussing highly sensitive and confidential legal matters in the media, and we will not do so, even if that means we come under criticism for following the due legal process.

"We respect any claimants' rights and out advisers will communicate with them and their representatives directly in the proper manner, respecting their rights to confidentiality."

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