A FOOTIE trainer accused of child sex offenses told police that “nothing sinister or criminal” happened as he lay in bed with his arm around a boy.
Mark McAuley, 33, who worked for clubs including Celtic, made the claim in a video interview with investigators after his arrest.
In an hour-long clip shown to jurors at Inverness Sheriff Court, he said he was “like a father figure” to some of the youths who testified against him.
When asked if he was in bed with a boy, he said, “It’s inappropriate, but there was nothing sinister or criminal going on.”
“One of the boys was going through a tough time – I treated him like he was my son.”
McAuley is accused of sexually assaulting two boys under the age of 13 and having sexual activity with two boys under the age of 16.
When officers asked him if he could massage boys’ thighs in bed, he said one of them had “lady’s hips” and he would help strengthen them. He claimed it happened on a floor in his home.
Earlier in the trial, a teenager, whose name cannot be released, told the court: “I really liked Mark at the time. He looked after and coached me individually.
“In hindsight, an adult shouldn’t sleep in the same bed as a kid in just their boxers. I felt uncomfortable.”
On Tuesday, a youth testified that McAuley put his hand down his pants and “rubbed” his privates.
McAuley’s Do Soccer courses in the Highland region closed in 2019.
He led training sessions for Celtic Soccer Academy and has also worked with Dunfermline and Alloa.
McAuley, from Dunfermline, denies nine charges dating from 2016 to 2019 in the Highlands, Fife, Edinburgh and in a car on the A9.
The process goes on.
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