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Child abuser Tony Walsh victim says ex-priest used fear of getting into trouble over broken window to abuse him

Survivor Chris reveals ordeal so others will come forward

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Tony Walsh. Photo: Collins Courts

Tony Walsh. Photo: Collins Courts

Tony Walsh. Photo: Collins Courts

Child abuser and former priest Tony Walsh will spend an extra two years behind bars after being convicted of further charges of indecent assault of a child.

The man described by the Murphy Commission, which was set up to investigate clerical sex abuse, as probably the most notorious child sex abuser to have come to its attention, was due to be released from prison tomorrow after serving 15 years for previous offences.

His victim in the latest case has told how Walsh manipulated his fear of getting into trouble to assault him repeatedly when he was a child.

Walsh (67) was sentenced yesterday to two years for six counts of indecent assault on Chris Derwin in St Luke's Church, Kilmore, on Dublin's northside in the 1970s while he was still in training for the priesthood.

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Chris Derwin said former priest Tony Walsh manipulated his fear of getting into trouble over a broken window to assault him repeatedly at a Dublin church

Chris Derwin said former priest Tony Walsh manipulated his fear of getting into trouble over a broken window to assault him repeatedly at a Dublin church

Chris Derwin said former priest Tony Walsh manipulated his fear of getting into trouble over a broken window to assault him repeatedly at a Dublin church

 

The court heard Walsh was in his 20s at the time of the assaults and his victim was under 13.

"I lived directly across from St Luke's church in Kilmore," Mr Derwin said.

"Tony Walsh appeared some time, and as kids we all got to know him."

Mr Derwin told how he was walking alone through the school grounds one evening when he rapped on a window to try to knock down some egg cartons that were on the other side, but the window broke, leaving him with a bleeding finger.

"I left in a hurry," Mr Derwin said. "He must have followed me. He put his hand on my shoulder. I looked around and it was Anto Walsh.

"He brought me back to the church and abused me, and that went on for three days that week - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

"He made reference to the teachers. Back then there was corporal punishment and you were going to get whacked if you did something wrong.

"He made reference to the gardaí. He had me under pressure. He had a hold over me.

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"I just didn't want my mother and father to know that I'd broken a window.

"It was all about the window.

"The following week again, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, the abuse. He told me to come back.

"Then one day he wasn't there and I never saw him again until I saw him in court.

"I was worried and scared that someone would find out about the window.

"I knew what he was doing wasn't right. I know it's a horrible thing to say, but it was easier to go along with him than the police or my parents or the school finding out about the window.

"Then I went out of control, doing things a 14-year-old shouldn't be doing. Drinking. Taking drugs at an early age. Getting into fights. A lot of anger, a lot of frustration.

"I had no intention of telling anyone about the abuse. I was going to take it to the grave with me."

Mr Derwin said the abuse had a negative impact on his relationships.

"What made me come forward was a lot of counselling," he said. "When I ended up in Portrane Hospital I did a bit of soul searching there, around 2010 or 2011.

"It did feel good to talk in the end. I found it strange to find there was a listening ear. My key worker encouraged me to go after this person.

"When I found out about his history, that made me more determined. If he's abused other children, he has to be thrown back into the spotlight again.

"I'm sure there are other people out there like myself who didn't want to talk about it.

"Now, hopefully, they will see this and more people will come forward. That's the reason I'm doing this.

"I could never hold down a job or a proper relationship.

"When intimacy came in relationships I always thought of the abuse. It was a constant thing. I had to be stoned or drunk to have intimacy in a relationship, just to get over the thoughts of him in my head."

In his victim impact statement, which was read out to the court, Mr Derwin said that if not for his son, he believes he would have taken his life after he separated from his wife and his life spiralled out of control.

Walsh had denied the charges and was tried and found guilty in May at the Circuit Criminal Court in front of Judge Melanie Greally.

Sergeant Killian Leydan of Lucan garda station outlined the nature of the abuse.

The court heard Walsh has 34 convictions for indecent assault.

Mr Derwin said he was disappointed Walsh did not receive a longer sentence, but encouraged others who have been abused by the former priest to report him.

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