Wednesday 24 January 2018

Victims of abuse praised by judge for bravery

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

A VICTIM of defrocked priest Tony Walsh yesterday described the life sentence he had imposed on him following years of sexual abuse when he was an altar boy.

Walsh, who received a 12-year jail term for abusing three boys, now in their 30s, sat impassively as one of his victims told the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin that he smoked crack cocaine and became a heroin addict as a direct result of being abused by Walsh.

Judge Frank O'Donnell described the now 38-year-old as an "absolute stalwart" after he read out a harrowing victim impact statement in which the victim disclosed that he had first tried to commit suicide at the age of 16.

The bid, the first of many failed suicide attempts, also marked the first time the boy was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. The man is still receiving hospital and outpatient treatment for psychotic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.


Last month Walsh was convicted of nine counts of indecent assault and five counts of buggery against the man.

Yesterday, two more victims outlined the impact of the abuse they suffered at the hands of Walsh when prosecutors read their victim impact statements into the court record.

Last week Walsh (57) pleaded guilty to two counts of indecently assaulting an altar boy in a west Dublin church between November 1978 and April 1979.

He pleaded guilty to a further charge of indecently assaulting a boy in a west Dublin school between January 1984 and December 1985, sparing both men the trauma of a full trial.

One victim was savagely beaten by his parents and sent back to Walsh's presbytery home after he disclosed that Walsh abused him by simulating sex when they were alone. He told the court he still has nightmares.

Another victim was first abused during confession at his school, where Walsh would talk to him throughout the sacrament as he abused him, later taking him to his home where he would simulate sex under the pretext of showing him his Elvis collection.

Irish Independent

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