'Evil' ex-monk (89) who abused boys after leaving monastery has jail term increased

By Michael Donnelly
Belfast Telegraph
February 10, 2018

Former monk Vincent Lewis, who was sentenced to eight-anda-half years in jail for his abuse of three young boys, has had his prison term increased by a year.

Judge Desmond Marrinan said his aim was not to further punish the 89-year-old, but to have regard to the time he will later serve on probation, which was in turn reduced from two years to 12 months.

The Antrim Crown Court judge told Lewis, formerly Brother Ambrose of Our Lady of Bethlehem Monastery in Portglenone, that since jailing him last month he had reflected on it, but was still of the opinion that a custody probation order was the appropriate sentence.

Defence barrister Noel Dillon had argued the sentence should remain unchanged as his client will be well into his 90s by the time he is released and that his circumstances then and his possible state of health "are entirely uncertain".

Mr Dillon said that the original period of two years' probation was totally appropriate and also both reasonable and proportionate.

However Judge Marrinan, who labelled the former cleric "an evil monk", said that the probation was not another form of social services.

He added: "That is not the role of probation officers." Lewis, whose brother Fr Eugene Lewis is also a convicted paedophile, was told last month if he had been a younger man he would have been jailed for longer for his 57 crimes, which included indecent assaults and gross indecency committed against the boys, including two brothers, on differing dates up to 1983.

At the trial Judge Marrinan branded his catalogue of abuse as "horrific... terrible... and dispicable", telling the abuser the "cruelity meted out was almost unbelievable".

Lewis, who later married and moved to Annagher Road in Coalisland, Co Tyrone, had for his own "utterly selfish and sociopathic way" treated his first unfortunate victim "as a plaything to slake his perverted sexual desires and showed him no mercy or consideration". On leaving the holy order at 50, the then printer of memorial and Mass Cards turned his attentions to first one teenager, who was able to reject his advances, before assaulting his younger brother, who endured four years of abuse from the age of nine.

The behaviour, said Judge Marrinan, caused his victims "to lose the precious right to innocence, and in the case of two of them, has caused them life-long damage and pain which cannot be repaired".

He said it was yet another "grim reminder of the incalcuable damage that a paedophile like the defendant can do".



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