Mark McAuley: Former Celtic-linked youth coach faces sexual abuse charges

19th January, 2022 1:37 pm

A former youth coach with links to Celtic and Alloa Athletic has been charged in connection with allegations of sexual abuse against young boys.

Mark McAuley, 31, of Dunfermline, Fife, is facing nine charges involving four children. He is accused of sexual offences against two boys under the age of 13 and two other youths under the age of 16.

McAuley’s online CV states that he was an international coach with the Celtic Soccer Academy, which is part of the Premiership club and teaches children to “learn to play the Celtic way”.

Photographs posted online by the academy in 2019 show him working with young boys and girls, wearing Celtic FC training gear, at club-sanctioned training events held in Sweden, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

McAuley also helped to train young players at Alloa Athletic between December 2018 and March 2020.

The League One club stressed his role as a coach with their youth academy had been voluntary and unpaid. Ewen Cameron, the club secretary, said: “Mr McAuley had been vetted and cleared in line with all of the club’s established child safeguarding policies prior to his appointment and at no time had the club any reason to doubt the probity of his conduct as part of his duties.”

It is alleged that McAuley repeatedly pinned a child down, put his hand under their trousers and touched their genitals. He is also accused of asking a child to remove his clothing and inviting them into his bed while he wore only his underwear.

McAuley also faces three charges of sending a sexual communication to a child, one of causing a child to hear a verbal sexual communication and another of causing a boy to look at a sexual image.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place at addresses in Dunfermline, Edinburgh and Tain in the Highlands, as well as in a vehicle on the A9 and elsewhere, between February 2016 and August 2019. McAuley, who previously ran a children’s football coaching business in the Highlands, pleaded not guilty to all charges when his case was called at Inverness sheriff court late last year. Sheriff Margaret Neilson adjourned the case until next month and released McAuley on bail.

Celtic FC did not respond to a request for comment. Its website says: “We are committed to protecting children and vulnerable adults from all forms of harm and actively promote the creation of a positive, safe and supportive environment.”

 

Source: The Times

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