Ex-Celtic youth coach sentenced for sex abuse against teenage boys
Ex-Celtic youth football coach, 73, is ‘likely to die behind bars’ after getting nearly seven years in jail for decades-long campaign of sex abuse against teenage boys
- Jim McCafferty was a coach and kit man for the Celtic youth team and boys club
- He carried out his abuse against 10 teenage boys between 1972 and 1996
- The incidents took place in team showers, hotel rooms and buses
- Many victims have suffered with mental health problems and alcohol abuse
- McCafferty admitted the abuse and was sentenced to six years and nine months
Jim McCafferty, 73, has been sentenced to six years and nine months in jail after admitting sexually abusing young footballers
A former football coach and kit man who admitted sexually abusing ten aspiring young players is ‘likely’ to die behind bars after he was jailed for nearly seven years.
Jim McCafferty, 73, who worked with the Celtic youth team and boys club, pleaded guilty to 11 charges related to child sex abuse against 10 teenage boys between 1972 and 1996.
He admitted a further charge of breach of the peace.
The incidents took place in several locations across Scotland – including team showers, hotel rooms and mini buses.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard on Tuesday that McCafferty was respected as an ‘experienced coach’ by parents but abused his position of power and used his intimidating physique to carry out a campaign of ‘sexual depravity’ against budding footballers.
Among the complainers were former professional footballers and many of his victims have since suffered from serious mental health problems and alcohol abuse, the court heard.
Judge Lord Beckett said McCafferty had used his ‘overpowering’ nature to achieve his ‘depraved objectives’ of abusing young boys.
He said: ‘For many complainers, the sexual abuse inflicted was repeated over a number of years.
‘In seven impact statements I have learned of the serious and lasting effects of your prolonged course of criminal conduct.
‘The courts must do what they can to seek to eradicate the sexual abuse of children engaged in sport.
The former youth coach and kit man, pictured arriving in court, attacked the youth players in team showers, mini buses and hotel rooms
‘Careers did not reach their full potential, some were cut short and lives have been seriously blighted.
‘Many of those that you abused have suffered from enduring anxiety and depression caused by what you did.’
McCafferty’s lawyer told the court he wanted to apologise to his victims and their families.
He also told ITV: ‘I’m on here tonight to apologise to all the young people that I’ve been bad to and to say I’m really really sorry.’
Defence advocate Shelagh McCall, QC, said McCafferty also wished to apologise to the victims and said: ‘Given his age and the state of his health, it likely that he will spend the rest of his life in prison.’
It was heard McCafferty was jailed last year for three years and nine months in Northern Ireland for sexually abusing a boy in Belfast between 2002 and 2015.
The football coach, who was also kitman at Hibs and Falkirk, was jailed for six years and nine months, backdated until October.
He was also placed on the sex offenders register.
Judge Lord Beckett said after the fourth man associated with Celtic Football Club has been sentenced in the past year: ‘The courts must do what they can to seek to eradicate the sexual abuse of children engaged in sport’
Speaking outside the court, Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor said: ‘These boys had a passion for the game, they had dreams and hopes.
‘Rather than provide a place of safety for them to fulfil these dreams, he used football to prey upon them.
‘The trust and respect they showed him was repaid by a complete and utter abuse of power. McCafferty exploited his position to satisfy his own sexual depravity.
‘James McCafferty has blighted the lives of so many people, both his victims and their families.
‘As boys, his victims lived in fear but as adults they stood united, finding the courage and strength to speak out.
‘They were listened to, and without their testimony we would not be here today witnessing McCafferty’s long awaited admissions of guilt.’
He is the fourth man associated with Celtic Football Club to be found guilty of child sex abuse in the past year.
Jim Tobett, Gerald King and Frank Cairney were each sentenced for committing historical abuse.
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