Scots priest abused boys in Liverpool but was sent home after parent spoke out

Daily Record [Glasgow, Scotland]

September 30, 2021

By Neil Docking and Chloe Burrell

Scots priest abused young altar boys in Liverpool – but was simply sent back home to Scotland after a parent made a complaint about him.

Father Thomas MacCarte allowed the boys to smoke cannabis and drink alcohol so he could sexually abuse them.

One of MaCarte’s victims thought the priest was “cool” for letting them hang out in his room, reports Liverpool Echo.

However, there was “another side” to MacCarte, from Glasgow, who preyed on children at Bishop Eton Monastery in Woolton Road, Liverpool.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how the pervert made one teenage boy watch gay porn, before performing a sex act on him twice.

However, when one victim’s dad complained about MacCarte to the church, the priest was simply moved away to Scotland.

MacCarte, now 70 and of St Mary’s Monastery, Hatton Road, Perth, denied five counts of indecent assault.

A six-day trial heard how MacCarte was born in Glasgow and in the 1980s and early 1990s lived and worked at Bishop Eton.

Robert Wyn Jones, prosecuting, said it was there he met the two altar boys – Boy A and Boy B.

Scots priest Father Thomas MacCarte sexually abused two altar boys in Liverpool (Image: Liverpool Echo)
Scots priest Father Thomas MacCarte sexually abused two altar boys in Liverpool (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Mr Wyn Jones said MacCarte “drank too much” and sometimes walked home to the monastery drunk.

The court heard Boy A had thought MacCarte was “cool” and said he didn’t lecture boys about sex or lust.

Mr Wyn Jones said he also let Boy A and some of his friends visit his accommodation in the monastery to smoke cannabis and drink alcohol there.

However, he said: “There was another side to Father MacCarte. He was very tactile. He would stroke his hair in a way that was far too affectionate. He would talk about sex and mutual masturbation.”

The court heard one time Boy A helped MacCarte get home after the priest had drunk too much.

Mr Wyn Jones said: “They were walking along Woolton Road, which has a few houses overlooking it at that point. It was pretty deserted.

“Father MacCarte was wearing a cassock and he grabbed Boy A by the head and forced his head under his cassock to the area of his penis.

“He was clothed but Boy A remembers smelling the stale urine and pulled his head away.”

The jury heard when Boy A visited MacCarte in his room, the priest would question him about masturbation, saying “I bet you do it”.

Mr Wyn Jones said: “He remembers Father MacCarte would urinate in the sink in his room and wave his penis about when he had finished.”

He said MacCarte would also give Boy A money and this behaviour went on until Boy A told his dad “sexual things” had happened with the priest.

The court heard the boy’s dad complained to Bishop Eton’s then parish priest.

Mr Wyn-Jones said: “It was agreed that the matter would be dealt with by the church internally and Father MacCarte was moved away to Scotland with the promise that he would be sent on a course.

“These things were dealt with rather differently back then.”

The court heard the abuse took its toll on Boy A, who received counselling but “has always struggled to come to terms with it”.

Bishop Eton Monastery (Image: Liverpool Echo)
Bishop Eton Monastery (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Mr Wyn Jones said Boy A had discussed what happened to him with various people and one night, after a discussion with a friend about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, became upset.

This led to Boy B learning that Boy A had been abused by MacCarte, having “thought it was just him”.

The court heard Boy B turned to Father MacCarte for support when he was undergoing psychological problems and drinking heavily.

Mr Wyn Jones said MacCarte “spoke kindly to him and gave him alcohol”, just as he had Boy A.

He said: “Father MacCarte would show him pornography while he was drunk, in particular gay pornography.

“Boy B recalls while he was drunk Father MacCarte took Boy B’s lower clothing off and performed oral sex upon him.”

The court heard he did this twice and MacCarte wanted Boy B to do the same to him, but that didn’t happen.

Mr Wyn Jones said: “This was happening to Boy A when he was vulnerable and needed support.

“It only came to an end when Father MacCarte was sent away by the church.”