Pervert youth coach Jim McCafferty pleads guilty to eight counts of child sex abuse
A pervert youth coach and kitman has pled guilty to a series of child sex offences.
Jim McCafferty, 72, was involved in football in Scotland and Ireland from the 1980s.
He was arrested in Belfast by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) after walking into a police station in December 2016.
He was charged with eight counts of engaging in sexual activity with the same child in Northern Ireland between December 2012 and December 2015.
McCafferty, who was accused of sexually touching a boy aged under 16, changed his pleas to guilty ahead of a scheduled trial at Belfast Crown Court.
Originally from Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, but more recently living in Raby Street in South Belfast, McCafferty was formerly a kitman at Celtic, Hibernian and Falkirk.
The case has been adjourned until June 22 for pre-sentence reports to be compiled.
McCafferty left the court ahead of being returned to Maghaberry Prison.
The admission came after months of adjournments and assessments of McCafferty’s mental state.
McCafferty, who lived in Wishaw before moving to Belfast, was arrested in December after giving an interview to Belfast Live and then walking into a Belfast police station.
McCafferty, who previously lived in Glasgow, worked at Celtic Football Club more than 20 years ago.
He was also a kit man for other Scottish clubs, including Falkirk and Hibs , before moving to Northern Ireland eight years ago.
McCafferty, who had been living in South Belfast, was due to be formally face abuse charges following his arrest last December, but the case was adjourned for the fifth time in 85 days
Lawyers for the prosecution and defence told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that a recently received report from a psychiatrist indicated that McCafferty should be examined by other medical specialists.
Ex-Celtic kitman arrested in Belfast after confessing to abusing young players
A former football coach has come clean about the years of sexual abuse he inflicted on young players, saying there are so many he can’t remember them all.
Former Celtic kit man Jim McCafferty, 71, confessed to a 20-year campaign of abuse during the 1980s and 90s in a bid to “unburden himself” and “cleanse his soul” after a whistleblower came forward about his behaviour.
The ailing pensioner, who now lives in South Belfast, named four players he assaulted in the 1980s and 90s while he coached at youth clubs in West Lothian and later Celtic.
McCafferty said: “I understand it was wrong, I was wrong and I did wrong and I am sorry.
“I have remorse. I know if I’m found guilty I will have to serve time and in my mind, I’ve said to myself that that’s what I’ll have to pay back for what I’ve done and I’m OK with that.
“I hope that will cleanse my soul. I’ll take what’s coming, there’s no getting away from it.”
He said sexual physical contact between himself and a number of the players was regular and included fondling and masturbation.
He also told how he shared naked showers with youth players after home wins and was involved in what he describes as ‘teenage orgies’ in changing rooms after matches.
During his confession he said he had sexual contact with one boy to “toughen him up”.
McCafferty said only one player he approached sexually ordered him to stop.
Despite his wide-ranging abuse McCafferty claimed he had never had unconsensual sex with any of the players.
He added: “I never raped a boy, no, nobody would even get away with that. Most clubs, most players would have been involved. It was part of the game. Without a doubt there are stacks of managers who wouldn’t have but there’s something different in the genes in me.”
Asked to explain why he felt the need to confess, he said: “Now I can take a breath again. My concern is if someone who hurts me when I’m walking down the street.”
McCafferty has offered to hand himself to the Police Service of Northern Ireland for questioning. Police Scotland have already launched an investigation into claims he abused young footballers in Scotland.
McCafferty says he hopes other people who have been in authority in football will now come forward and face their demons.
He explained: “I’m willing to face it. No one has accused me of raping them but I cannot lie.
“My mind is working overtime, it’s only natural. There are things I’ve done and I have to accept that. I read the Daily Record last week and I thought nothing has happened yet.
“But now this is about me drawing the line.
“I don’t want to hide anything. I have been haunted by what I did.
“I was lonely and they made me feel good. I wanted their company without a doubt although the greatest interest was football.”
A Celtic spokesman said: “This is an extremely serious allegation which we have immediately passed on to Police Scotland.”