By The Associated Press
December 17, 2010
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said he fully accepted the findings of the latest chapter in Ireland's investigation into child abuse by priests in Dublin who were shielded from the law by Catholic leaders.
Archbishop Martin called the priest, Tony Walsh, an "extremely devious man" who should never have been ordained.
A state-ordered investigation into cover-ups by the Dublin Archdiocese reported last year that church officials had shielded scores of priests from criminal investigation over several decades and did not report any crimes to the police until the mid-1990s.
A chapter dealing with Mr. Walsh was censored from the original report because he was still facing a criminal trial at the time. It was published Friday, after Mr. Walsh's conviction on Dec. 6 for raping three boys over a five-year period three decades ago. He got a 12-year prison term.
The investigators concluded that Mr. Walsh raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls while serving as a priest in Dublin from 1978 to 1996. They described him as "probably the most notorious child sexual abuser" of the 46 cases they investigated.
Mr. Walsh often performed as an Elvis impersonator in a traveling Catholic song-and-dance production called the "All Priests Show," which was popular with children. The report found this increased his access to victims, as did his interest in scouting groups and taking altar boys on visits to the Dublin seminary Clonliffe College.
The investigators based their conclusions on previously confidential Dublin and Vatican documents and interviews with church figures. They found that archdiocese leaders spent several years arguing over whether Mr. Walsh should be defrocked, sent to counselors in England or assigned to duties that kept him away from children.
Archbishop Martin, a veteran Vatican diplomat appointed to clean up the Dublin scandals in 2004, handed over the archdiocese's previously secret abuse files to the investigators. His predecessor, Cardinal Desmond Connell, had refused to do so.
Archbishop Martin said the church concealed child abuse easily for so long because it had grown too powerful.
"It had often become self-centered and arrogant," he said. "It felt that it could be forgiving of abusers in a simplistic manner and rarely empathized with the hurt of children."