The founder of Celtic Boys Club has been jailed for a further three years for abusing another of its players which a judge described as “cynical and targeted grooming”.
Judge Andrew Cubie told 75-year-old Jim Torbett that he used the football team “as an elaborate front for recruitment of your young victims”.
He said: “You have enjoyed 30 years of avoiding responsibility for your conduct but the impact on your victim has been lifelong.
“You caused significant damage, incalculable harm and blighted his life.”
The judge noted that the boy, referred to as ‘A’, never played for the team but Torbett bought him a new uniform, boots and other items.
He continued: “You had assessed his vulnerability and It is reasonable to conclude the interest you showed in him was for your own selfish sexual gratification.”
Torbett stared at the jury who had taken almost five hours to reach their unanimous verdicts on the four charges against him as he was led away to resume his current six year jail sentence, looking close to tears.
His earliest release date was May next year but he now has to serve three more years.
Advocate depute Angela Gray told Judge Cubie that Torbett had been convicted in November 1998 of shameless indecency involving three boys who were also Celtic Boys club members.
One of those who gave evidence against him relived his abuse for the jury which was crucial in Torbett’s conviction due to the similarities in the type of assaults, the locations, the age and vulnerability of the victims and the timeframe of the late 60s.
She said he was also jailed for six years at the High Court in November 2018 for sex assaults involving another six Boys Club teenagers which occurred between 1970 and 1994.
Defence advocate Jim Keegan KC asked Lord Cubie to take into account that his client had already served eight years in prison, his age and his health.
“Had the complainer in this case come forward at an earlier point, it is not likely that the period of time would have been much increased. He has already spent a lengthy period of incarceration.”
Torbett vehemently denied abusing any boys in his evidence to the jury during the six day trial. He described himself as “a decent man” and said: “I will keep repeating that till the day I die.”
But Ms Gray told the jury there were ten similarities between Torbett’s alleged behaviour.
The jurors heard that they must believe both men who gave evidence for the prosecution to convict as there is a legal doctrine to be followed if there are no corroborating witnesses.
She said they were time frame; locations; age of complainers; their gender; his position at the time with the club; the nature of the abuse, the trust he enjoyed from parents and children, the offending taking place when other people were around the affection he showed both boys; and the abuse started when the boys were of an age they couldn’t consent to sexual activity.
The trial heard Torbett would abuse the boys in a car, in his bed in his mother’s flat, a toy shop, restaurants and cinema as well as on trips with team members at home and abroad while others were around.
He also tried to kiss both boys and implied threats made to their families.
Detective inspector Jim McLauchlan, of the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said: “We hope this conviction brings some measure of closure to his victim.
“We are very aware of how difficult it can be to report being a victim of child abuse. It can take many years before people feel able to report. Our assurance to anyone who may have been a victim of child abuse is that when they are ready to report we will listen, we will investigate and we will take prompt action to ensure that no-one else is at risk of harm.
“We are all responsible for protecting Scotland’s children. It is up to all of us to recognise when a child may be at risk and to take steps to protect them and to prevent harm. It is also up to us to create an environment where people feel able to report being a victim of sexual crime without feeling shame.”
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