March 2018

Football coach jailed for ‘horrific’ sexual abuse

A football coach who sexually abused two youth players in the 1970s has been jailed for eight years.

James Kinnen was told by a judge that he had committed “horrific offences with catastrophic consequences” for the boys he had abused.

He was caught in 2016 as part of an investigation into historical child sexual abuse within Scottish football.

Kinnen, 74, who lived in Craigneuk, Lanarkshire but who now lives in Bristol admitted two charges of lewd and libidinous behaviour, and sexual assault.

The offences took place in North Lanarkshire between 1972 and 1977.

Kinnen was coaching a local youth football team and targeted the first boy when he joined the club aged 11.

He abused the boy in his home and told him he would tell the other boys he was homosexual if he revealed what had happened.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Kinnen also abused the boy on another occasion.

Prosecutor Bernard Ablett said: “He [the victim] was scared to disclose what happened fearing he would be taken into care.

“He has advised that he did not go back to the football club after this.”

The court heard that the victim “feels sick” when thinking about the abuse and has considered suicide.

The court was told that the second victim was subsequently traced during the investigation.

He had joined the club when he was aged seven and was abused on a “number of occasions” until leaving aged 11.

Mr Ablett said: “He has stated throughout the period of abuse that Kinnen would make threats against him.

“On at least three of these incidents, Kinnen threatened that if he told anyone what was happening he would kill him.

“The boy was genuinely frightened and believed that he would carry out this threat.”

The court was told Kinnen is a registered sex offender being monitored by Avon and Somerset Police, with four previous convictions for sexual offences.

Judge Lord Matthews told Kinnen: “You have pled guilty to horrific offences with catastrophic consequences for the young boys who you abused.

“It is aggravated by the position of trust that you held.

“You held the dreams of these young boys and took advantage for your own ends.”