herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Sex offender slashed paedophile Walsh 'to pay off jail debt'

A NIGERIAN sex offender is the chief suspect for a slash attack on paedophile priest Tony Walsh in jail.

Prison officials have identified a suspect for the assault on the defrocked priest after Mass at Midlands Prison last Sunday.

The Herald has learned that a fellow sex offender is the only suspect for the attack carried out inside the jail.

Walsh (56), who is serving a 12-year sentence for indecently assaulting three young boys in the 1980s, said he does not know who attacked him.

However his claim that he he did not see who the attacker was is being treated with scepticism by the authorities. Prison sources said the sex offender suspected of the slashing may have been carried out the attack as "payment for a debt" to a third party -- who had a grudge against Walsh.

They have identified the suspect as a Nigerian sex offender.



SLATE

The attack in which the paedophile ex-priest and Elvis impersonator was slashed across the face -- requiring about a dozen stitches -- took place when Walsh was walking back to his cell from Mass.

He was treated at the Midlands Regional Hospital and returned to prison. "The attack was likely done as a favour, and would have wiped the slate clean as far as the debt was concerned," said a senior officer.

The recently published Chapter 19 of the Murphy Report, described Walsh as probably "the most notorious sex abuser" to come to the attention of the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of child sexual abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.

It concluded that he was moved from parishes in Ballyfermot to Westland Row to avoid further scandal.

It outlined how Walsh abused children in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, even though all strands of the Church hierarchy knew about him. He went for treatment and a follow-up report said he was "a very disturbed man" who "is always going to be dangerous" and "could not be let near schools, children, confession etc".

But he remained a priest and an abuser before being defrocked in January 1996 -- 16 years after the first complaint. Last month in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court he pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting a male in a west Dublin church in the late 1970s, and indecently assaulting a male at a school in the mid-1980s.

He was jailed for 16 years with the final four years of the sentence suspended.

cmallon@herald.ie

ENDS

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