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Singing Priest admits abuse of 2 more boys

A former priest who is serving a 16-year sentence for the rape and abuse of schoolboys has had 15 months added to his sentence for abusing two other boys in the 70s and 80s.

Tony Walsh, who was known as the 'Singing Priest', is due to have the entirety of his sentence reviewed by the Court of Criminal Appeal next month.

Walsh (59), formerly of North Circular Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of indecent assault on January 1 and April 4, 1979. The victims were aged between 10 and 11.

Judge Martin Nolan said that Walsh had worked his way into the confidence of the families of the two victims with "cold- blooded intent".

 

FRIGHTENING

He said the sexual assaults were aggressive and incredibly frightening for the children involved. He said that the abuse has had serious and long-term effects on the victims.

Remy Farrell, defending, said Walsh had already received a substantial sentence of 16 years for other offences and that it would be unduly punitive to add to this sentence.

Judge Nolan disagreed and said he would "unusually" impose a sentence consecutive to the existing prison term in order to recognise the seriousness of the offences and the harm Walsh had done.

He said that the latest sentence should go before the Court of Criminal Appeal next month when Walsh's current sentence is appealed.

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Garda John Barrett told Vincent Heneghan, prosecuting, that the first victim was aged 11 when Walsh caught him eating sweets outside the church before taking Holy Communion.

Walsh took the boy into the priest's house and sat him on his lap. He told him his parents would be angry at him for not going to Mass. He then sexually assaulted the boy.

The victim told gardai later that he didn't understand what was happening and that afterwards he pulled away in total terror and started crying.

Walsh told him that his parents would not believe him if he told them. The abuse only came to light in 2008 during bereavement counselling after the victim's father had died.

The second victim was aged around 10 or 11 when Walsh abused him on Good Friday 1979. The boy knew Walsh was involved in the All Priest's Show and was excited to be offered a chance to travel in the priest's white BMW one afternoon.

He said he felt special to have been picked for the treat and thought they were going to visit some other friends. Instead Walsh took the boy to the Parochial House and abused him by touching his genitals and rubbing against him.

 

VICTIMS

The victim didn't tell his mother about the abuse until he was 14. Angela Copley, from Revive, a Ballyfermot-based support group for victims of clerical sex abuse, said most of the victims they helped were victims of Walsh.

She said: "There are lads in Palmerstown cemetery because of Tony Walsh who never got justice."

She said the two victims were happy that today's sentence is consecutive to the term Walsh is already serving but added that the term was "nothing" compared to the depravation his abuse had caused.

hnews@herald.ie


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