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  1. ITV Report

Scottish Premiership club Partick Thistle admits it knew of sex abuse complaint

  • Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

A Scottish Premiership side has admitted it knew of alleged sexual abuse more than 20 years ago.

Partick Thistle disclosed that a former physiotherapist at the club was accused of child sex abuse in 1992.

Following the allegation Thistle dismissed John Hart, who has since died.

Hart was able to continue working as a physiotherapist at his own private practice, even after the club has dismissed him.

However in an announcement of his death in a match-day programme from 1995, the club praised Hart as "one of the best, if not THE best physio in the country".

It added that he had the "most incredible sense of humour" which was "marvellous for morale".

The club's announcement of John Hart's death in a match-day programme from 1995. Credit: Partick Thistle

In its statement, Thistle said that it had decided to disclose the information as a "proactive response to the emergence of alleged abuse in football".

The club also said "no other allegations were made to the club at that time with regard to him or any other employee."

The safety and wellbeing of children and young people who have contact with the club, the statement continued, is "of paramount importance".

The statement said: "As part of a proactive response to the emergence of alleged abuse in football, Partick Thistle has identified one historic allegation of abuse made against a former club employee, who is now deceased.

"The employee worked for the club for two years as a physiotherapist. As soon as the alleged abuse was raised in 1992, the club dismissed the individual with immediate effect.

"As far as Thistle’s current management can ascertain, no other allegations were made to the club at that time with regard to him or any other employee.

"The club has contacted the SFA and Police Scotland to advise them of what they know to date and will fully comply with any investigation.

Partick Thistle admitted they knew of child sex abuse allegations Credit: PA

"In the meantime, Partick Thistle would urge anyone who may have been affected to contact Police Scotland, the SFA, the club or the NSPCC helpline set up to support and advise victims of abuse.

"In the last 24 hours, we have been approached by an anonymous individual asking for advice on who to contact with concerns relating to historic events. No details were given.

"The club advised he ring the NSPCC hotline in line with SFA guidance.

John Hart was a physio at Partick Thistle for two years. Credit: Partick Thistle

"Thistle regards the safety and wellbeing of the children and young people who have contact with the club, at whatever level, as being of paramount importance.

"The club will continue to uphold the strictest standards of compliance with all safeguarding legislation."

Last week, Chelsea apologised "profusely" to former youth player Gary Johnson, who was sexually abused and "suffered unacceptably" while with the club in the 1970s.

Partick Thistle said it was not aware of any compensation offered to victims or confidentiality agreements.