December 8, 2016 / 5:20 PM / a year ago

Former Celtic youth coach charged with sexual abuse

BELFAST, Dec 8 (Reuters) - A former Celtic youth coach appeared in court in Belfast on Thursday after being charged with sexually abusing a child and was remanded in custody due to fears for his safety.

Last week, police said about 350 victims had come forward to report sexual abuse within soccer clubs across the United Kingdom from the 1970s onwards and indicated the number was likely to rise.

Jim McCafferty, 70, originally from Scotland but currently living in Belfast, was remanded in custody until Jan. 5, charged with sexual activity with a boy under 16 in Belfast some time between 2011 and 2014.

He was arrested and charged on Thursday after presenting himself to a police station accompanied by a solicitor immediately after giving an interview to the Mirror newspaper.

McCafferty was a kit man and youth coach with Glasgow Celtic more than 20 years ago and was involved with other Scottish clubs including Falkirk and Hibernian.

McCafferty, who arrived in court using a walking frame, had not been named by police before Thursday’s court appearance. He spoke only to confirm he understood the charge against him.

His solicitor did not question a police witness who said she could connect the accused to the charge and did not apply for bail, citing fears for his safety.

Editing by Conor Humphries and Angus MacSwan

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