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Ex-football coach sentenced for abusing boys

A former football coach was yesterday ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work for abusing two 13 year old boys in the late 1990’s.

He was also given a conduct requirement, not to have unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 years and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 3 years.
John O’Neill was one of a number of individuals arrested following a widespread investigation into historical abuse in football.

In 1997 O’Neill had advertised in a local newspaper looking for boys to play in a new football team in East Kilbride. A number of boys from the area replied and the team was formed with O’Neill being the team manager and coach.

The 52 year old pled guilty at an earlier hearing. The court heard the offences took place after a training session when the boys were taken into the changing area and asked to undress so they could be measured for a new team strip.

Speaking after the sentencing at Hamilton Sheriff Court, Fraser Gibson, Procurator Fiscal for South Strathclyde and Dumfries & Galloway said:
“Although trusted and respected by the community he served, John O’Neill abused his position.

“Thanks to the bravery of his victims in coming forward to report what happened to them, it has been possible for us to bring him to justice for his crimes.
“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of such an offence to report it to the police so that it can be fully investigated.

“They will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors around the country and in our National Sexual Crimes Unit, and we will do all we can to deliver justice.”