Former Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett has been convicted of sexually abusing three boys. Two of the victims were under 14 and the third victim was aged five when he was abused by Torbett. He was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow and was jailed for six years. He had denied all the charges.

Lord Beckett told Torbett:

“You groomed boys and contrived situations when you could abuse them. Yours is some of the most corrupting behaviour I have ever heard of in these courts. Your depraved conduct towards innocent children has blighted their lives. You used the club as a front for child sexual abuse.”

Torbett had previously been jailed for two years in 1998 for abusing three young victims from Celtic Boys Club between 1967 and 1974.

Kenny Campbell was one of the victims of Torbett. Following the BBC documentary where Campbell broke his silence, the BBC tracked Torbett down in California and put the allegations to him. Within hours Torbett was escorted to the airport and arrested on his return to Scotland.

Campbell told the jurors how Torbett was his “hero” and he “would have run through walls for him.” He then went on to describe how the abuse started. One of the victims, Andrew Gray, died last year in an accident in Australia. His sister attended the trial. Gray’s statements made to the police were read out in court. The court heard how Gray was told that he would be dropped from the team if he did not comply with Torbett’s sexual demands.

Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor, of the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit, praised the courage of the victims and said:

“Torbett was a predator who used football to allow him access to young boys. These were boys who had a dream; they wanted to play professional football. Torbett was a man in a position of trust but he betrayed that trust. He preyed on these boys, he exploited their dreams and he subjected them to callous and depraved abuse. I have no doubt that he exerted control over the boys in his care and coerced them with promises and lies. Reporting these offences and reliving the experience can be traumatic. We understand this and we will do everything in our power to bring investigations to the appropriate outcome.”

Mr Campbell said he was grateful to BBC journalists Mark Daly and Calum McKay for investigating Torbett.

“The worst thing about being an abuse victim, a survivor, or whatever you want to call them, is the fear of not being believed. Even right up to the verdict was announced I had the fear that I would not be believed.”


If you have been affected by anything in this article and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted free on 0800 9555 094 or request a call back.

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