Celtic sued by former boys’ club player over sexual abuse

Solicitor Patrick McGuire, Celtic badge and CEO Peter Lawwell.

BBC Scotland is reporting that a former youth footballer is suing Celtic FC over the sexual abuse he suffered while playing for Celtic Boys’ Club.

Thompsons Solicitors has sent official papers on behalf of one client seeking damages from the Parkhead club.

The case will now be heard at the Court of Session in the coming months.

Celtic has said that while it shares “historic contacts” with the boys’ club, the two are separate organisations.

Thompsons represents more than 20 survivors who allege they were abused at the boys’ club – a feeder club to the senior Celtic team – during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

This is the first “test case” the firm will bring to court.

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Jim Torbett

In recent years, a number of former senior figures at the boys’ club have been convicted of sexual crimes against young players in their care.

Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett was jailed in 2018 for abusing his position to groom and sexually assault several youths over two spells at the boys’ club.

Last year, Jim McCafferty, a coach and kit man for Celtic’s youth team who also worked for the boys’ club, admitted a string of sexual offences against boys at both clubs.

Former boys’ club manager Frank Cairney was also jailed in February last year.

This is the next step in civil cases for damages taken by Thompsons against Celtic.

The firm says the club is responsible for the abuse suffered by its clients.

Celtic has been approached for comment on the case brought by Thompsons.

In February, the club said it was “very sorry that these events took place” but has repeatedly said the club and the boys club are “entirely separate” organisations with “historic contacts”.

Last year, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said that the club had been conducting its own investigations into the abuse scandal at the boys’ club, with a “wholly independent and experienced lawyer” leading the work.

No findings of that investigation have yet been made public.

Thompsons says that the two clubs shared a name, crest, personnel, premises and players.

Patrick McGuire, the solicitor representing survivors, described the new legal proceedings as “hugely significant ” for survivors of historical abuse.

He said: “One the best known and celebrated football clubs in the world is now going to be held to account in civil court for decades of the most abhorrent sexual abuse of children.

“These young lads and their families put their complete trust in Celtic and their feeder organisation Celtic Boys’ Club.

“That trust was betrayed over four decades by a succession of paedophiles that operated openly within Celtic.”

Both sides have been in discussions over civil cases for more than a year but, with no resolution, the first case will now proceed to court in the coming months.

In August, it emerged that Celtic had paid out “significant” compensation after admitting liability in a separate case.

The recipient was a former youth player at the club who was sexually abused by Jim McCafferty.

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