‘Shameless’ paedophile priest gets 22 years for sexually abusing boys

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A paedophile priest was branded “shameless” by a judge yesterday and jailed for 22 years for a campaign of sexual abuse of young boys.

Alexander Bede Walsh was convicted last month of 21 sexual offences, spanning a period of 18 years.

A 10-day trial at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard that the Catholic clergyman used his “revered” status to prey on his victims, abusing boys in Coventry, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

The abuse, described to the court as “serial and predatory”, took place between 1975 and 1993.

At the same court yesterday afternoon, Judge Glenn told him: “Shameless accurately describes your attitude to these proceedings, you have shown no remorse at any time.

“In fact, the jury was satisfied you lied repeatedly to them.”

The judge told him: “You used God’s name as a lever ... manipulating God’s teaching for your own devices.”

Walsh, of Church Lane, Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, worked in parishes in Coventry, Banbury and north Staffordshire after being ordained in 1979.

He also served at a Roman Catholic boarding school in Staffordshire and at a now-closed children’s home in Coleshill, Warwickshire.

He was arrested and interviewed in 2006 after two men contacted police to claim they had been abused in Coventry as children.

Further complainants came forward between 2008 and last year and all eight victims gave evidence at the trial.

The 58-year-old was convicted of two serious sexual offences and 19 counts of indecent assault against boys aged between eight and 16.

The Most Rev Bernard Longley, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, said he had been “shocked and appalled” by the abuse.

In a statement issued after Walsh’s conviction, the Archbishop said: “These are horrendous crimes, and I first want to express my deep sense of shame at what has taken place.

“It is the most serious betrayal of trust. I also want to express my profound sorrow and deep regret to each of the victims, then children, now adults, for the abuse perpetrated by Father Bede Walsh, whom they and their families trusted as a priest.”

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