Former Celtic Boys’ Club chairman spared jail over child abuse

Natalie Taylor was sentenced at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Photo: John Devlin
Natalie Taylor was sentenced at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Photo: John Devlin
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A former Celtic Boys’ Club chairman convicted of sexually abusing four boys and a girl while he was employed as a teacher has been spared jail.

Gerald King, 66, taught and coached football at a primary school in the north of Glasgow during the 1980s.

One victim told how King exposed himself to him when he was getting changed before a football game and told prosecutor Adele Macdonald “I was really embarrassed and uncomfortable”. He told the jury: “I felt as though it was something I couldn’t escape from.”

King’s conviction last month came only weeks after Celtic Boys’ Club founder Jim Torbett was jailed for a second time for abusing three boys.

A former manager of the boys’ club, Frank Cairney, 83, was found guilty the following week at Hamilton Sheriff Court of abusing teenagers between 1965 and 1986.

After his trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court, King was convicted of five charges of using lewd and libidinous practises towards the five victims between August 1984 and April 1989.

He was also found guilty of taking indecent pictures of children in February 1987.

Today, shamed King, who was also a coach at Celtic boys’ club, was given a three-year probation order.

Sheriff Johanna Johnston QC said: “You were convicted by the jury of a number of sexual offences involving school pupils, you were their teacher at the time.

“The jury did however make a number of significant deletions to the charges. The charges were are before me for sentence are serious in nature and involve a breach of the trust that both pupils are society place on school teachers.”

He will be supervised throughout his time on the order and must carry out 240 hours unpaid work. King will also be on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

King’s victims were between nine and 13 years-old at the time. In evidence he admitted taking two pictures, one of four boys in a shower with no clothes on which was later printed in the school magazine with ‘censored’ over their private parts.

He also said he took a second picture of one of the boys with no clothes on, but claimed both were entirely innocent.

King denied all of the charges he faced.

Another victim, now 41, described King stripping off in front of him before a football game.

Miss Macdonald asked: “How did you feel when you were standing there and he was in front of you in the same room naked?”

He answered: “Embarrassed.”

Defence counsel Gavin Anderson said King lives “something of a solitary life” that the deletions made by the jury were “material and significant”.

He added that the offences are committed while King was a teacher and that he is now retired and deemed unsuitable to work with children.

King also worked at Torbett’s company, the Trophy Centre, but previously denied being close to him.

During Torbett’s trial he named King as one of the coaches at the boys’ club.

The founder of the club was first put behind bars for two years in 1998 for abusing three former players, including future Scotland striker Brail.

Torbett was said to have been sacked from the club in 1974 when allegations surfaced against him, but was later welcomed back in 1980 until 1996.

Cairney, from Viewpark, denied nine charges of historic sexual abuse but was convicted of abusing eight boys while running St Columba’s Boys Guild in Viewpark, Lanarkshire, and the under-16s team at Celtic Boys Club.

He is still to be sentenced.