Former ‘singing priest’ convicted of sexually abusing boy

Tony Walsh (62), who denied knowing victim, is already serving a sentence

Fr Tony Walsh performing with the All Priests Show. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Fr Tony Walsh performing with the All Priests Show. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

Former “singing” priest Tony Walsh has been convicted of sexually abusing a young boy.

Walsh (62), currently serving a sentence for sexual offences against a number of other children, denied ever knowing the boy and said he had never assaulted him.

“If I knew him I would have pleaded guilty years ago,” Walsh told the court as he gave evidence on his own behalf.

Walsh, who was a member of the All Priests Show, was asked by his counsel how he felt towards the children he had assaulted. “I am sorry it happened. It should never have happened. It was as near to illness as you can have without being sick,” he replied.

Walsh, formerly of North Circular Road, Dublin 7, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five counts of indecently assaulting the boy on dates between January 1980 and December 1982.

The boy was aged between 10 and 13 years old at the time of the abuse.

The jury of two women and 10 men returned verdicts of guilty on all counts after approximately one hour of deliberation following a three-day trial.

Judge Elma Sheahan thanked the jury for its service and remanded Walsh in custody for sentencing on July 4th.

During the trial, the victim told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that on the first occasions Walsh had sat him on his knee and pulled him backwards with a gyrating motion.

Elvis

On further occasions he said Walsh sat him on his knee and then pulled down his trousers and underwear before fondling his genitalia.

He said he sometimes remembered music playing and that Walsh told him it was Elvis.

He also recalled being bent over a sofa by Walsh who then put what he believed was his finger into his rectum before then putting his penis into him. He said on another day he felt something being put inside him and afterwards saw a

crucifix on the ground behind him.

He said on the final occasion Walsh asked him to go for a walk and pulled down his underwear and put his penis inside him again.

He said he made his complaint to gardaí in April 2011.

During cross examination by Kieran O’Loughlin SC, defending, he denied a suggestion that he was aware of Walsh’s reputation from news reports and had “built up” things in his mind that had been intended as friendship.

Giving evidence in his own defence Walsh told Mr O’Loughlin that he did not know who the complainant was and did not believe he had ever met him. “I never did anything to him,” said Walsh.

He told Mr O’Loughlin that the allegations were “absolutely untrue”. When asked about the allegation in the book of evidence regarding the crucifix he said “I was just shocked when I saw that.”