Maybe there is no right thing a football club can ever say to really comfort and satisfy the victims of sexual abuse for which it bears some responsibility. Perhaps there are no form of words, no soundbites, which could ever make even a dent on the righteous pain and anger felt by young boys who were abused and the families who saw their loved ones broken and damaged.
Football is overburdened by slick public relations teams and, at least at many of the bigger clubs, their default setting for awkward issues is to obstruct, frustrate and say little or nothing. When the same shutdown mentality is applied to far more serious issues, and they dont come any graver than systematic sexual abuse of young boys…
Victim of paedo Celtic Boys Club coach Jim Torbett says club need to accept responsibility after predator ca
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Hoops chiefs expressed deep regret after Torbett, 71, was caged for a second time for abuse at the Boys Club closely linked to the Glasgow giants
ONE of paedo footy coach Jim Torbett’s victims says Celtic ‘need to take responsibility’.
Kenny Campbell, 46, testified against the 71-year-old who was caged for abuse at Celtic Boys Club, which is closely linked to the Glasgow giants.
Hoops chiefs expressed ‘deep regret’ after Torbett, of Kelvindale, was jailed for six years after being found guilty of attacks on three boys between 1996 and 1994.
Celtic’s statement, released 48 hours after Torbett was caged, emphasised the difference between the clubs – sparking fury among abuse survivors and campaign groups.
Michelle Gray, whose late brother Andrew was abused, insisted: To say that they were two separate clubs is nonsense.
And Andi Lavery, from survivors group White Flowers Alba, said: Regret isnt an apology. They just dont want to know.
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.
Lawyer Patrick McGuire, acting for some of the beasts victims, appealed to club bosses to examine their conscience and imagine how they would feel if their loved ones had been targeted.
He made the plea to Celts directors after they issued a statement saying they deeply regretted the scandal — but did not say sorry.
Appealing directly to club bosses, Mr McGuire said: Many of you are committed family men, how would you feel if this was a child from your family?
Children in your care who worshipped Celtic were horrifically abused and you still wont accept responsibility. How can you square this with your conscience?
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.”
The High Court in Glasgow heard on Monday it was the second time he had been jailed for preying on youngsters.
Manager Jock Stein and former chairman Sir Robert Kelly gave Torbett permission to start the youth team using the famous hoops. Stein became its honorary president.
Celtic posted the carefully-worded statement on their website yesterday after two days of silence following Torbetts sentencing. It said: Celtic Football Club wishes to express our deep regret that the incidents took place and sympathy for the victims who suffered abuse.
We are grateful for the courage of those who have come forward to report abuse and to give evidence after such a long period of time.
We have great respect for them and their families as they continue to cope with the distressing effects of the abuse they suffered.
The statement said Celtic only became aware of claims surrounding Torbett in the 1990s — although the trial heard allegations Stein booted him out in 1974. He was allowed back to the Boys Club in 1980, two years after Stein left Parkhead.
The lines between the two clubs had been blurred, with Stein and club captain Billy McNeill videoed handing out medals at a Boys Club prize-giving while Torbett read out the winners names in the early 70s.
Todays statement from the Hoops added: 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.
He accused Celtic of ignoring victims and warned that if they didnt settle their legal claims, he would take them to court.
He said: Torbett was part of Celtic and any attempt by the club to say he wasnt is preposterous.
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.
Jailing Torbett, judge Lord Beckett described how the fiends depraved conduct and corrupting behaviour had blighted the lives of his victims.
He added: The love which young boys have for football, their dreams of playing professionally and perceived association with Celtic Football Club gave you substantial power over the boys you coached.
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 Torbetts actions have had on my clients cannot be described.
It is all the more shocking when you think that this happened while they were supposed to be under the protection of one of Scotlands most well known and loved institutions, Celtic Football Club.
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