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Sunday 4 December 2016

Paedophile Walsh told Stenson of incidents with boys

Published 20/12/2010 | 05:00

Former priest Tony Walsh is deemed the "most notorious child sexual abuser" to have come to the attention of the commission investigating abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.

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The earliest allegations against Walsh date to before his ordination in 1978 but these did not emerge until later.

Two days after he was appointed to Ballyfermot parish in July 1978 a complaint was received that he had sexually abused an eight-year-old boy. This he denied. In 1979, the mother of a 14-year-old boy alleged he had been abused.

By 1985, several priests in the archdiocese were aware of concerns over Walsh.

Monsignor Alex Stenson was asked to investigate Walsh in 1985 -- but he found no concrete evidence and a lot of "ill-informed gossip".

He confronted Walsh who "denied nothing", admitted two incidents with young boys, and was made to see a psychiatrist. He was moved from Ballyfermot to Westland Row where he again abused.

In 1990 Archbishop Desmond Connell and Msgr Stenson told Walsh the only options available were voluntary laicisation or dismissal.

Msgr Gerard Sheehy, who was Msgr Stenson's predecessor, warned Dr Connell he would be entering a "canonical minefield" if he tried to dismiss Walsh.

In 1991, gardai asked Msgr Stenson if Walsh had a record of paedophilia following a complaint by parents.

The report quoted Msgr Stenson as saying: "I evaded that but told him to proceed with whatever steps he thought he should take."

Msgr Stenson had, at this point, been investigating the priest for around six years.

Irish Independent

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