14 March 2018
An 82-year-old Catholic priest who confessed to his bishop more than 20 years ago that he had abused young boys has finally been convicted.
Father Paul Moore has been found guilty of sexually abusing three children and a student priest in crimes spanning more than 20 years.
One of his victims was just five years old.
A BBC Scotland investigation reported five years ago that Moore had admitted in 1996 that he had abused more than one boy years earlier, and it was initially covered up by the bishop.
The then Bishop of Galloway, Maurice Taylor, did not contact the authorities about the priest’s confession until eight months later. Instead, he sent him to a treatment centre in Toronto.
Bishop Taylor removed the priest from his parish in Prestwick, Ayrshire, and later sent him to Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands, which was run by Benedictine monks.
The attached school was by this time closed, but the abbey remained open. That is where Moore joined monk Richard White – who was also a self-confessed paedophile, later jailed for five years for child abuse.
The 2013 BBC documentary Sins of Our Fathers told how Moore was still living in a house which was purchased by the church.
Bishop Taylor said Moore had told him about actions that “occurred years previously”, and that the priest was removed from the pastoral ministry after the admission.
The bishop said: “The initial advice I was given was that since no allegations had been made against Moore but that he had made personal admission to me, I didn’t need to inform the authorities.”
The bishop said he arranged a meeting with the procurator fiscal in Kilmarnock in November 1996.
He said: “The Crown Office informed us in 1999 that they had decided not to proceed with any action but the case remained open.”
It was only when the victims came forward after the BBC documentary that the criminal case was brought.
In 2013, the BBC revealed claims by a former altar boy that he had been abused by Moore.
Two years later, Paul Smyth waived his anonymity to speak to a follow-up investigation.
He said: “I just want people to know the truth, I’m not running away any more.”
Mr Smyth told the BBC how he’d been sexually assaulted on Irvine beach when he was 11.
He eventually told the police what happened in 1997, the year after Moore apparently admitted the abuse to Bishop Taylor.
Also in the 2015 follow-up, the BBC revealed a second man, another former altar server and now in his late 40s, was abused by Moore for several years as a teenager in Ayrshire.
The investigation obtained a copy of a £10,000 cheque given to the man by Moore in 2009.
Moore denied the cheque was “hush money” and says it was meant as a loan.
When confronted, Moore denied that he had confessed any child abuse to Bishop Taylor.
He accepted he was aware the man had made allegations against him, and was asked if he accepted that a payment to an alleged victim may look like “hush money”.
He responded: “Sure, it looks now, I realise that now in these times but it’s not that, it wasn’t hush money.
“In the Bible it says lend without hope of getting things back… as far as I’m concerned he can keep it.”
Asked if the two men were lying about the abuse claims, Moore said: “No, they’re not lying. They think that’s what it is. But it’s not.”
The court case also heard from another man, now in his 40s, who told how Moore sexually assaulted him at St Mark’s primary school in Irvine in 1976.
Nowadays that crime would have been classed as rape.
Another man told of an occasion when he was abused at Irvine’s Magnum Centre when he was still a child.
Moore was ordained in 1960 and served in six different parishes in the south west of Scotland before retirement.
In 1995, he abused a student priest and around the same time he was found to have repeatedly stared at the bodies of young boys in Prestwick swimming pool.
Soon after this he made his confession to the bishop.
Bishop Taylor, who is now 92, appeared in court and said Moore had admitted to him in 1996 that he had a desire to abuse minors and he knew it was wrong.
He spoke of abusing boys while they slept and others at a swimming pool.
The bishop was shown personnel records he had taken in 1996 when Moore asked to see him.
He told the bishop he had sexual involvement with two males who had been underage at the time.
He said he wanted to sort himself out and stop living as two personalities
Now facing jail, a man who claims to have devoted his life to god will now have time to contemplate what that role has been and what impact his behaviour has had on his victims.
Priest guilty of child sex abuse
14 March 2018
An 82-year-old Catholic priest has been convicted of sexually abusing three children and a student priest in crimes spanning more than 20 years.
Father Paul Moore committed the crimes in various locations in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996.
The court heard how he abused one boy at a school, another at a leisure centre and a third on the beach at Irvine in the 1970s.
He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting a student priest in 1995.
He will be sentenced next month.
The judge, Lady Rae, told Moore that he had abused his position as a priest in the “most horrible manner”.
She said it was an “appalling abuse” and the damage done to young people was immeasurable.
His youngest victim was just five when the priest abused him in his primary school.
The court heard that the priest groomed some of his victims by taking them swimming or out for meals before sexually abusing them.
The BBC reported five years ago that Moore confessed his abuse to his bishop in 1996.
Ninety-one-year-old Bishop Maurice Taylor 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 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.
He showed no emotion as he was remanded in custody and led away to the cells.
The allegations were first raised in 1996 but it was not until 2015 that a major police investigation was launched.
His youngest victim, who is now 46, said the abuse took place for the first time when he was sent to Moore by his teachers for drawing a picture of Jesus Christ with nipples.
The man said he was crying and Moore embraced him and then sexually abused him.
Another man said that when he was aged between 11 and 13 he and a group of others went to the Magnum Leisure Centre in Irvine with Moore to swim.
In the changing room the man, who is now 52, said that as he stood towelling himself dry in the communal changing room Moore said: “We’re all boys here,” and tried to grab the towel.
Another witness, aged 49, said he was abused by Moore , who was his parish priest, when he was 11.
He told the court the priest abused him on two occasions after they went swimming together.
The victim , who was an altar boy, added: “We would go to a secluded area up the top of the beach to change. He would take an interest in drying me.”
A third victim, who has been a priest for more than 20 years, told the jury that on two separate occasions he woke to find Moore beside his bed, touching his genitals.
Bishop William Nolan, the Bishop of Galloway, said he was very sad a priest had been found guilty of the abuse of those in his care.
“I feel very much for those who have suffered,” Bishop Nolan said.
“I am conscious, too, that their pain has been exacerbated by this long wait for justice and that we are only now able to offer a full and proper apology.
“Notwithstanding, I hope that the trial, conviction and sentencing of the individual responsible will afford them some comfort.”