The Scottish Government has said it will not launch an inquiry into the Celtic Boys Club abuse scandal despite calls for an independent review. It has also ruled out looking at bringing the victims into the scope of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, originally launched to address the historic abuse of children in care homes.
Fresh calls for outside intervention comes after the ninth conviction for child abuse of someone connected with the club. Former scout Kenneth Divers became the latest offender to be convicted after he was found guilty of sexually abusing four pupils while he was a teacher.
Campaigners at Spotlight called for Scottish Ministers to get involved. It said: “Nine paedophiles have now been convicted from Celtic FC/Celtic Boys Club yet the Scottish Government sees fit to leave this out of the Scottish inquiry into child abuse. The victims of abuse deserve better and have been badly let down by the Scottish Government.”
Following the latest arrest, Scottish Conservative community safety spokesman Russell Findlay said he wanted to see Celtic Boys Club included in the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. He said: “I hope the civil courts will bring accountability and redress.”
He added: “But surely with so many men who were linked to the boys’ club now convicted of vile crimes against kids, the SNP Government and Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry must give serious consideration as to what scrutiny can be rightfully applied to this.”
The Scottish Government has knocked back the suggestion, stating an SFA investigation has already “acknowledged the significant physical and mental harm caused to individuals”. They also pointed to the removal of the three-year “time-bar” for those seeking criminal damages for the abuse they suffered.
Alternatively, a judicial review has been suggested by some. Gordon Woods, a victim of abuse at Celtic Boys Club, said he wanted to see a judicial review “free from any control of the SFA and Scottish Government”. He branded a previous SFA report a “whitewash”.
The Scottish Government told the Scottish Express: “Our sympathies are with the victims of historical abuse.
“The independent Review of Sexual Abuse in Scottish Football, commissioned by the Scottish FA Board to examine what was known about abuse in Scottish football in the past and what actions were taken as a result, acknowledged the significant physical and mental harm caused to individuals and the need to ensure the safety, rights and wellbeing of children involved in football today.
“We support the work of Scotland’s police and prosecutors to bring perpetrators to justice and note that a number of individuals responsible for such crimes have been convicted and sentenced for these. We cannot comment on other allegations. In the civil justice system the Scottish Government also removed a longstanding legal hurdle for adult victims of child abuse seeking damages claims by legislating to scrap the three-year ‘time-bar’ for all cases involving child abuse.”
The government has previously claimed a wider remit for the SCAI would take many more years of investigations. A ‘class-action’ style lawsuit against Celtic, which insists the youth side was a “separate entity”, is set to take place this summer. Around 28 survivors are involved in the case and are being represented by Thompsons Solicitors.
SOURCE: Scottish Daily ExpressCategories: News