“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.”