Celtic Boys Club

A Search for Justice – Celtic Boys Club

The Gray family have been searching for justice since their brother Andrew came forward and told police about the terrible abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of the evil and manipulative Jim Torbett – while chasing his dream playing for the now infamous Celtic Boys Club

Andrews’s family were tragically unaware of the terrible abuse their relative went through. Once Andrew came forward, his struggles over the years suddenly made sense to his loving Mum Helene and heartbroken sister, Michelle.

Andrew lost his life before he got the justice he deserved – but his family have carried out their search for justice for Andrew ever since.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, but having to fight for justice after they are gone is an extra strain for the family to endure. 

Andrew Gray played for Celtic Boys Club and was a tragic victim of the evil Jim Torbett. Andrew was 41 when he had a terrible accident on holiday and slipped into a coma. 

In November 2018, Torbett received a 6-year jail sentence, which brought no justice for Torbett’s victims, especially Andrew. Andrew Gray suffered in silence for nearly 30 years following years of abuse at the hands of Torbett. Following the revelations from ex-Crewe and Bury football player Andy Woodward – and how he suffered at the hands of Barry Bennell, Andrew came forward to police to reveal the abuse he suffered while chasing his dream. 

Andy Woodward bravely encouraged his friend Andrew Gray to go to the police about the abuse he suffered as a child and how it had left him suffering in silence into adulthood.

Jim Torbett founded Celtic Boys Club in 1966; ruling the boys club through lies, manipulation, and sexual abuse. He demanded players refer to him as ‘The Big Man’. He would make young boys shower in a communal changing room while standing to face him with their hands by their sides – undoubtedly a show of power by Torbett.

As the years have passed, victims have continued their search for justice – Celtic have not helped matters with denying any link between themselves and the Celtic Boys Club. The pedestrian progress of investigations and inquiries has magnified the continued suffering for all of Torbett’s victims.

Despite Jim Torbett going to prison in 2018, it has been made clear since his sentencing that the lies and manipulation surrounding Celtic Boys Club and the affiliation to Celtic goes much deeper than the evil of Jim Torbett. 

Celtic legend Jock Stein approved the boys club. They even adopted the club crest. The reports of a cover-up regarding Torbett’s abuse are still rife. Stein reportedly sacked Torbett because of child abuse allegations back in 1974. Despite this sacking, he was inexplicably allowed back in the 1980s, where he continued to carry out his depraved crimes. Official club documents at Celtic state Torbett left the club originally for business reasons. Torbett’s heinous crimes are thought to date back 50 years.

The issue of pedophilia in Scottish football seems to be mostly ignored by Humza Yousaf. Yousaf has held various positions in Parliament, including Cabinet Secretary for Justice and most recently Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care since May 2021. Jim Torbett, Frank Cairney, and many more are responsible for the constant abuse of many young children at Celtic Boys Club. These monsters ruled by inciting power and fear into these young boys by spanking them and, on regular occasions, even raping them. Cairney and Torbett were unchallenged in their roles and did as they pleased. 

The volume of abuse is staggering, and as the years have passed, more and more survivors have come forward. It is wholly disappointing and even inexcusable that Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Parliament are still yet to launch an investigation into the sickening abuse which took place over many years at Celtic Boys Club. Parliament in Scotland has stayed quiet over the years – refusing to make any significant comment regarding Celtic Boys Club. MPs often block abuse victims on social media when asked about the lack of movement on the case.

Abuse against children in football was regular during the 1970s and ’80s – carried out by monsters such as Torbett, Cairney, Gordan Neely and Barry Bennell – who have killed childhoods and ruined adult lives, often causing long-term psychological damage to their victims.

The search for justice has been a slow, painstaking process – with victims and their families searching for many years for justice. The victims and their families have, however, received some well deserved good news. Judge Lord Arthurson permitted 22 former Celtic Boys Club players to launch a class action against Celtic.

Despite Celtic denying the link between them and the boys club – QC Ian Mackay debunked Celtic’s denials by saying both entities were “intimately connected”. Each of the 22 ex Celtic Boys Club players wants compensation after allegedly being sexually assaulted while playing at the club.

Despite the denials from Celtic over the years regarding their links to the boy’s clubs, lawyers for the victims uncovered evidence showing irrefutable links between the two entities, which ultimately led to the class action receiving the go-ahead.

Evidence in court has seemingly confirmed that Celtic FC were aware of abuse in 1970. Amazingly, allegations were raised in board meetings at Parkhead again throughout the 80s and 90s.

Evidence at court also showed that players at the boys club played in Celtic strips and wore blazers identical to those worn by players at Celtic. 

A search for justice has taken years for the victims and their families. When asked about the judge’s decision in backing the class action, Michelle Gray said: “it’s huge for us, we’ve all waited so long, finally some good news”.

Justice for the 22 victims and their loved ones is one step closer.

Abuse comes in all shapes and forms and here at LWOS LIFE, we occasionally cover this vitally important issue with the permission of victims. Feel free to check out our recent article about a brave domestic violence survivor.

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