Parish relief as priest is in clear
Police: No case to answer
The parish priest of St Bride’s in Cambuslang has been cleared of any wrongdoing after an allegation of historical sexual abuse.
Father Paul Morton was put on administrative leave last September by Catholic Church authorities whilst the claim was investigated, but he always maintained his innocence.
However, on Thursday evening, after an interview lasting less than an hour, he was informed there is no case to answer.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We can confirm police have carried out an investigation following an allegation of historical sexual abuse, and no further police action will be taken.”
Fr Morton’s family, friends, parishioners and members of the wider community are delighted, having stood by him throughout the allegations to give him their full support.
In a statement to the Reformer, Fr Morton’s brothers and sisters said: “Our family wish to make clear for the public record that, with the dismissal of the allegation, Paul has been completely exonerated. His innocence, which he has
maintained from the beginning, has finally been confirmed.
“We wish also to make it clear that at no time was he charged with any offence and that the police enquiry is now officially ended.
“We, his family, wish to affirm that the integrity of this dedicated, honest and principled man is intact and we know that his reputation will be immediately restored. Without doubt, he will go on to surmount the huge damage which has been done to his life and we know that he will continue to give honourable service with his head held high.
“The family wish to express their heartfelt thanks to the huge number of parishioners and friends who have stood by him during these last months. ”
Fr Morton’s brother, Michael added: “Police Scotland have exhaustively investigated an allegation made against Fr Paul by an individual. No charges were brought against him and no report is to be sent to the Procurator Fiscal, due to there being no other evidence, of any kind, to support the original allegation. The police investigation is now at an end.”
The Reformer spoke with several parishioners who were united in their delight, and all want to see their priest return.
Cambuslang man Damian Brogan said: “Fr Morton is a gentleman, a great human being. I’ve spent hours in the parish church with him over the years - he always had time to spend with everyone.
“I can’t begin to imagine what he’s had to deal with over these last few months. Everyone has been supporting him in thought and prayer. I’d be delighted to see him back - I know he would be welcomed with open arms.”
Parishioner Annette Quinn added: “The Father married my husband and I, he christened the two children and he buried my dad - he’s done a lot for my family through hard times and good - he has been a huge part of our lives, and been there in the community for others.
“He has been a good friend as well - and he has never asked for anything in return.
“The last few months have been devastating for him personally, for his family, and for the whole parish.
“Now this is over, we really want to see him back at St Bride’s. What he’s been through has been heartbreaking, as we have all been praying for him.”
Dr Kieran Dinwoodie told the Reformer: “Fr Paul is a good man and faithful priest who has helped thousands of people in their lives. Now it is our turn to help him in his recovery and return to ministry.
“The parish of St Bride’s want our priest back and want to help him heal. I hope that our Bishop will recognise his duty of care for Fr Paul’s welfare and allow him to return to St Bride’s.”
Another parishioner, who asked not to be named, added: “It’s been going on since last autumn, and it’s been a terrible thing to do to a good man.
“Fr Morton has worked his fingers to the bone for the parish.”
A friend of Fr Morton’s added: “I am really glad that this terrible ordeal is over for Fr Paul, and he can rebuild his life. It’s taken too long to reach this outcome, but I am pleased for him.”
Fr Morton was ordained into the priesthood at St Leonards in East Kilbride on June 28, 1985, and moved to St Bride’s in 2000.
He previously took a sabbatical from St Bride’s, but was so popular with his parishioners that they started a petition which was sent to the Bishop of Motherwell, requesting he return to St Bride’s afterwards.
Fr Morton has taken part in a number of fundraising activities over the years, receiving sponsorship from the parish, as St Bride’s has raised well over £100,000 for charity.
Innocent Police have ended their investigation into an allegation of historical sex abuse against Father Paul Morton 140313morton_1