Former Celtic youth football coach jailed for sex abuse

Jim McCafferty former youth coach and kitman.
Jim McCafferty former youth coach and kitman.
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A football coach who sexually abused a former Celtic star and nine other aspiring players has been jailed for six years and nine months.

A football coach who sexually abused a former Celtic star and nine other aspiring players has been jailed for six years and nine months.

Jim McCafferty, 73, targeted the boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, between 1972 and 1996.

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The High Court in Edinburgh heard how McCafferty carried out the abuse whilst acting as a kit man and a coach for youth football teams across central Scotland.

He managed to secure positions with Celtic Boys Club and Celtic FC and parents who sent their children to play for his teams “respected” him as being an “experienced coach”.

But they didn’t know that McCafferty was an “intimidating, loud” and “aggressive” pervert who abused young boys who dreamed of playing professional football.

Lord Beckett heard yesterday how some of McCafferty’s victims developed alcohol and mental health problems as a consequence of the abuse.

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Now McCafferty, who was jailed for three years and nine months in August 2018 for sexually abusing a teenage boy in Belfast, has been handed a second prison sentence.

Passing sentence, the judge told him: “You have been portrayed as being physically intimidating and an overpowering personality which you used to achieve your depraved objectives.

“You took advantage of your position of trust as a football coach to groom and then sexually abuse boys who played for your teams.

“You were adept at identifying the circumstances of different boys so that you could manipulate them and in some cases their parents in a variety of ways.

“All of this was done to facilitate your sexually abusing children. 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.”

The story emerged after McCafferty pleaded guilty to 12 charges of sexual assault which he carried out between March 1972 and 31 December 1996.

The court heard how McCafferty abused the boys at locations across Scotland. He abused some of his victims at Celtic Park and the club’s Barrowfield training ground in Glasgow.

The boys abused by McCafferty were aged between 14 and 17 when they were subjected to assaults.

McCafferty, of Belfast, was jailed in Northern Ireland last year for sexually abusing a teenage boy in the city between 2002 and 2015.

He moved to Ulster after spending most of his life in Scotland.

Yesterday, McCafferty was too physically frail to sit in the dock of the court. He sat a few feet away from prosecutors.

One of McCafferty’s victims was aged around 11 when the pervert started abusing him. He continued to abuse him until the boy was aged 19.

Prosecution lawyer Jo McDonald said: “He died aged 39 due to complications associated with chronic alcoholic consumption. The complainer had stated that the abuse he suffered was a reason for his drinking.”

Another one of McCafferty’s victims died at the age of 54 in 2012. Ms McDonald told the court of how McCafferty started abusing him aged 14 and continued to assault him for another two years.

She said: “He died an alcoholic.”