A FORMER altar boy has told a jury that a priest sexually abused him on Irvine beach.

The trial against former priest Francis Moore, who is alleged to have also committed offences at the Magnum and St Mark’s Primary, has continued at the High Court in Glasgow.

A 49-year-old care worker was giving evidence at the trial of 82-year-old Father Moore who denies sexually abusing three boys and a student priest.

The offences are alleged to have been committed between 1977 and 1996.

At Glasgow High Court on Tuesday, February 6, the witness said that the abuse took place when he was 11 and Moore was his parish priest.

Prosecutor Shanti Maguire asked the witness: “What happened the first time you were alone with Father Moore?"

He replied: “We were in swimming down the beach. We would go to a secluded area up the top of the beach to change. After we finished with the swimming he would take an interest in drying me.”

The man told the jury that the priest sexually abused him.

Ms Maguire asked the man: “Was anything said,” and he replied: “No, we got dressed and that was it. We went home.”

The 49-year-old told the court that on a second visit to Irvine beach with the priest he remembered lying in sand and the priest covering him with it.

He said: “He took an interest in patting me around the groin area.”

Earlier another man said that when he was aged between 11 and 13 he and a group of others went to the Magnum Leisure Centre in Irvine with Moore to swim.

In the changing room the man, who is now 52, said as he was getting dried in the communal changing room Moore said: “We’re all boys here,” and tried to grab the towel.

Defence QC Gordon Jackson said: “It was something that was all over in seconds and that was the end of it,” and the witness replied: “That’s correct.”

The next day in court, a priest claimed that he was indecently assaulted by Moore as he slept.

The 61-year-old man, who has been a priest for more than 20 years, told the jury on Wednesday, February 7 that on two separate occasions he woke to find Moore, whom he knew as Father Paul, beside his bed, touching him.

The priest said: “He was standing at the side of the bed. He was quite drunk. I was quite angry and he apologised. He said he needed to go for counselling.”

The witness told the jury that some weeks later he awoke to find Moore on his knees at the side of his bed.

He said: “His hand was under the covers on my genital area. His head was close to my genital area.”

The priest told the court that he reported the incident to his bishop.

He also told the jurors he felt uncomfortable when in a communal changing room at Prestwick swimming pool with Moore after they had been swimming.

The priest said: ‘Father Moore was looking at people getting changed. I felt very uncomfortable.

"He had a fixed smile like it was normal, but I found it embarrassing. He was just staring. It was just fixed looks at genitalia.”

Defence QC Gordon Jackson said to the witness: “These incidents you told us about didn’t happen,” and he replied: “No, that’s not true.”

The court heard the next day that Moore offered to take a lie detector test.

He told police who were interviewing him: “I think it is shocking. These are things I’ve never done. It is absolutely untrue. I would take a lie detector test. It disgusts me that would happen to a child.”

Moore was interviewed by detectives at Saltcoats Police Station on December 8, 2015 in connection with alleged sexual abuse of a five-year-old boy at St Mark’s Primary School in Irvine more than 40 years ago.

During the interview he was shown a photograph the boy and asked if he recognised him.

The retired priest replied: ‘Honest to God I don’t.”

Moore, from Largs, denies all the charges against him.

The trial continues.