Monday, January 24, 2011

Priest charged

Ex-Coventry priest on child sex abuse charges

Jan 24 2011
0ShareA FORMER Coventry priest has been charged with abusing young boys.

Alexander Bede Walsh faces 17 counts of indecent assault and two of serious sexual offences against four boys.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place during the 1980s and 1990s when the boys were aged between eight and 16.

The 57-year-old former clergyman, who now lives in Abbotts Bromley, near Rugeley, Staffordshire, served as priest at All Souls’ Church in Kingsland Avenue, near Hearsall Common, between 1982 and 1985.

Three of the four alleged victims are from the Coventry area.

The charges follow a “long investigation” conducted by Staffordshire Police.

After being charged with the offences Mr Walsh was released on police bail.

He is due to appear before magistrates in North Staffordshire today (Monday).

After leaving Coventry, the clergyman moved to the Staffordshire Moorlands as procurator and priest-in-charge at Cotton College.

As well as being the priest in charge of St Giles’s Roman Catholic Church, in Cheadle, he was also a governor and chaplain at Painsley Catholic High School and a governor at feeder schools in the district.

He served the parish of Cheadle in Stoke-on-Trent for 14 years before moving to a church in Oxfordshire in 1999.

Staffordshire’s senior crown prosecutor Sue Hanson said: “We received a police file on Alexander Bede Walsh in December following a long and detailed investigation by Staffordshire Police.

“The file was carefully examined and reviewed to ensure we had sufficient evidence and that it was in the public interest to charge Mr Walsh with any criminal offences that he may have committed.

“After examining all the evidence officers from Staffordshire Police charged Mr Walsh on January 11 with 17 counts of indecent assault and two serious sexual offences against four boys.”

Peter Jennings, press secretary for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, which covers Coventry and Warwickshire, and parts of Oxfordshire and Staffordshire, said: “Father Walsh has not practised in any public ministry whatsoever in the Archdiocese of Birmingham as a Catholic priest since 2004.”

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