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CELTIC Football Club have refused to sever business links with child molester Jim Torbett.

The club are still awarding lucrative contracts to Torbett's merchandising firm despite his conviction for assaulting young footballers.

Officials promised to review commercial links with millionaire Torbett - who founded Celtic Boys' Club - after he was jailed five months ago.

But his company, The Trophy Centre, continue to supply official club merchandise, including clothing, scarves and mugs.

One of his victims yesterday bitterly criticised the club for continuing to put money into Torbett's pocket.

James McGrory, now 44, was one of three boys molested by Torbett, who was jailed for two years in November.

Mr McGrory's lawyers have written to Celtic to express his horror.

Solicitor Iain Cochrane said: "Mr McGrory was surprised and distressed to discover Celtic's continuing business relationship.

"This was particularly surprising given the club's public comments at the time of the conviction."

Mr Cochrane said the replies from Parkhead had been high-handed and dismissive and the club refused even to confirm that Torbett's company were still winning contracts.

Company secretary Heather Barton merely insisted the club always acted "in the best interests of supporters".

Torbett, 51, was jailed for molesting three young Celtic Boys' Club players.

Sheriff Margaret Gimblett told him: "These children were football mad with stars in their eyes.

"You knew that and betrayed that trust. There can be no hiding place for people who abuse children."

Torbett's abuse was exposed in a series of award-winning Daily Record articles in August 1996.

He used his position as coach to abuse the boys, including Alan Brazil who went on to play for Scotland.

Records at Companies House, in Edinburgh, reveal Torbett remains a director and principal shareholder of The Trophy Centre.

Staff from the firm supported Torbett during his trial and Sheriff Gimblett revealed that only the testimonials they wrote on his behalf saved him from a longer sentence.

Yesterday, Trophy Centre director Gerry McAleer confirmed the company continued to supply Celtic but claimed not to know Torbett's status with the firm.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Wilson, Jim
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 10, 1999
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