A CATHOLIC priest who raped a boy in the 1980s with a crucifix has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Anthony (Tony) Walsh, 63, who first gained notoriety in Britain and Ireland through his Elvis impersonations as part of Father Michael Cleary's All Priests Show was found guilty of forcing the child to have sex twice.
The first incident happened in the parochial house in his parish and on another occasion in a tunnel under Dublin's Phoenix Park, where he raped the child with a holy cross.
The victim, who was ten when the abuse began, said that he was happy with the outcome but "exhausted and drained" after the three-day trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, according to ()The Times. "It will take some time to process the whole thing,” he added.
The jury of two women and ten men returned verdicts of guilty on all counts after approximately one hour of deliberation following a three-day trial.
Walsh, who is already serving a 17 and a half year sentence for sexual offences against other children committed the offense, and two other rapes on the same young victim, before new legislation came into effect in 1990, meaning that the longest sentence the judge can impose on each offence is two years.
The priest, formerly of North Circular Road, Dublin 7, 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, according to The Irish Times.
In December 2010, he was sentenced to a total of 123 years for child abuse, but as the sentences were to be served concurrently, the maximum he could serve is 16 years. At the time it was the most severe sentence imposed on a child abuser.
The Murphy Report, into historic cases of the sex abuse against children within the Catholic church in Ireland has described Fr Tony Walsh as "probably the most notorious child sexual abuser to have come to the attention of the Commission… His pattern of behaviour is such that it is likely that he has abused hundreds of children.”