Former Catholic Priest, 82, Jailed for historic Abusing Primary School Children, Student Priest

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A Retired Catholic priest, Father Paul Moore, 82 has been jailed for nine years for sexually abusing three children and a student priest in crimes spanning more than 20 years.

He committed the crimes in various locations in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996. The court heard how he abused one young boy at a primary school in North Ayrshire and the other two, both altar boys, at a leisure centre and beach at Irvine between 1977 and 1981, the Crown Office said. At the time the boys were aged between five and 13. The student priest was assaulted between 1995 and 1996 at a property in Prestwick.

The judge, Lady Rae told Moore he was guilty of despicable crimes and a gross breach of trust.  She also said the victims had shown considerable courage in coming forward. The youngest was just five when the priest abused him in his primary school.

Kenny Donnelly, procurator fiscal for sexual offences, said: “The actions of Francis Moore have had a devastating impact on the lives of his vulnerable victims. “He was trusted and respected by the community he served while all along he was abusing his position of trust.

“I encourage anyone who has been a victim of any such offences, even if they occurred decades ago, to report this to the police in the confidence that they will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors.”

The court heard that the priest groomed some of his victims by taking them swimming or out for meals before sexually abusing them. A BBC Scotland investigation revealed five years ago that Moore confessed his abuse to his bishop in 1996.  Bishop Maurice Taylor, 91, gave evidence in the trial and told the court Moore admitted he had “an attraction to young boys” and had “a desire to abuse minors”.

The High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

The bishop sent him to a treatment centre in Toronto and to Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands.  Moore was removed from the pastoral ministry after his admission but continued to live in a house purchased by the church. The priest, who was identified in court as Francis Moore but was known as Father Paul, was found guilty after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

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