The cases occurred at the Celtic Boys Club, a kind of quarry of the institution, and resulted in six investigated and three convicted.
He Celtic Boys ClubFounded in 1966 and renamed St Patrick’s Sports Academy in 2018, it was Scotland’s most prestigious youth football team and a gateway to professionalism for thousands of players. But it was also the center of a scandal of child abuse and pedophilia, which involved six important men of that organization, who were investigated for sexually assaulting children between the late 1960s and early 1990s. Three were convicted.
The scandal returned to the front pages this year and put the reputation of the Celtic FC, because a group of 21 victims and relatives of victims presented a civil lawsuit against that club, which they accuse of knowing the abuses and doing nothing about it.
The complainants include at least one prominent former player for the Glasgow team and several from other Scottish Premiership teams and the Scottish national team. They claim that Celtic FC had a “corporate responsibility” for the safety of the children and the actions of the bullies, and they hope that the trial will take place in 2021. “tear down the defense wall” who created the club, one of the most popular in the country, to distance itself from the Boys Club.
The youth soccer institution was born as an independent organization of the professional team, although over the years ties were created that ended up transforming the Boys Club into a kind of quarry of Celtic FC. But from the current champion of the Scottish league they affirm that they were always two different legal entities, so they do not accept responsibility for the abuses committed.
One of those convicted of the sexual assaults was Jim Torbett, founder of the Boys Club, who was imprisoned twice for these crimes, first in 1998 and then in 2018. The British newspaper The Guardian published an article in which some of his victims narrate in detail the attacks committed by that leader.
Gordon Woods He said that in his early years as a player for the club, which he joined in 1967, Torbett, then the team’s manager, used to invite the children to his apartment, with the excuse that they would help him with some simple tasks in his new football company. souvenirs.
“One night, after training, he asked us to pack some plastic medals and wear the shorts football to do it. Then he invited us to lie down on his bed to rest and then he went to bed. I was 13 years old. Suddenly, he put his hand on my shorts. I remember I was terrified, but I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed. I had a sick feeling in my stomach“said Woods at 65.
Torbett had a lot of power in the children’s futures, he said, leading many to not talk about what happened at those meetings.
Woods also recalled an incident that occurred in 1968 that ended up marking his departure from the Boys Club. “We went to a toy store under the pretext of labeling some small plastic cups. Torbett asked me to go to the back of the store to find a box with the cups. He followed me and tried to force me to perform oral sex on him. I ran away and I walked home. I was 14 years old, “he said.
After that episode, Woods wrote a letter to Torbett, asking him to stop hurting him, but he never sent it. He thinks his father found it and sent it to Jock Stein, at that time Celtic FC manager.
Woods is one of the survivors who filed the lawsuit and said that the stress generated by the process caused him to lose 20 kilos in the last year. Although he confirmed: “Neither stress nor pressure is going to stop me. I’ve been silent for 50 years, so I’m not going to stop now. I will no longer be silenced by anyone. “
Torbett left the club in 1974 so he could dedicate himself to running his company. Many years later, when the leader had already been jailed once for pedophilia, the Scottish press claimed that he had actually been fired by Stein.
In 1978, Torbett returned to the team with Kevin Kelly, a member of the Board of Directors of Celtic FC, who said a few years ago that at that time he was not aware of the accusations of abuse against his partner in some businesses and that he only met them in the 1998 trial.
Andy Gray he was one of Torbett’s victims upon his return. His sister Michelle is one of the plaintiffs, representing the former player, who died in 2017 in a diving accident in Australia.
“My brother played in the Boys Club for three years, but suddenly at 16 he resigned. Only at 40 did he tell us what had happened to him. He did not share details, but he told us that it all started when he was 12, in the car from Torbett, who used to take him home after practice, “said Michelle, who was the victim of vandalism and received threats for her actions against the Scottish football champion.
“Torbett had power over Andy and filled him with fear. We got to a point where in my house you couldn’t mention Celtic or Torbett in front of my brother. It destroyed his life and led him to attempt suicide several times. He was finally able to get out, “Gray said.