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Scots priest who abused children still looked after by Church

FRESH questions have been raised about how the Catholic Church in Scotland handles child sex-abuse cases.

ACTION: Maurice Taylor, then Bishop of Galloway, moved the priest
ACTION: Maurice Taylor, then Bishop of Galloway, moved the priest

It has emerged an Ayrshire priest who admitted abusing children almost 20 years ago is still being looked after by the Church.

Father Paul Moore, who is retired, reportedly confessed to the then Bishop of Galloway, Maurice Taylor, in 1996 that he had abused more than one boy.

Rather than reporting him to police, the bishop is understood to have sent him to a treatment clinic for child sex offenders in Canada, after which he was transferred to Fort Augustus Abbey.

However, the real reason for the priest's departure from his parish in Prestwick was reportedly hushed up by the Church and the move described as a sabbatical.

The allegations will be broadcast in a BBC documentary on Monday, following a six-month investigation into child abuse by Benedictine monks at the now-closed Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands.

The programme will air an interview with one of Father Moore's victims, who was abused by the priest when he was an 11-year-old altar boy in the late 1970s. Tony –not his real name – said: "[The priest] was somebody you looked up to, you trusted, you believed in. And you would not think they would do any wrong.

"One of my memories was when it was just the two of us on the beach when we were getting dressed – he [took] an interest in drying me. He [got] quite aroused by this."

He added he was offered no support by the church after Father Moore's confession, and even met his abuser by chance in a street in Ayrshire.

The programme also reveals Father Moore is still living in a house bought by the church.

In a statement, Bishop Taylor said he alerted the authorities eight months after Father Moore's confession.

He said: "In April 1996, Father Moore told me of actions which had occurred years previously. On his admission of these to me I removed him from the pastoral ministry. I sought advice on how to handle Father Moore's admission from social workers, experts in child protection and legal figures. The initial advice I was given was that since no allegations had been made against Father Moore, but that he had made personal admission to me, I didn't need to inform the authorities."

Bishop Taylor denied mis­leading the parish about Father Moore's whereabouts.

Father Moore said: "I regret if any person believes past activities of mine were abusive: that was certainly never my intention, or my understanding of the matters discussed with Bishop Taylor.

"Those matters were fully investigated by the police, and the procurator-fiscal confirmed in 1999 no proceedings should be taken in relation to them."

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