Priest Sex Trial: 'He Abused Me at College'

The Sentinel
January 27, 2012

ANOTHER man has explained how he was allegedly sexually abused as a boy by a priest at a North Staffordshire boarding school.

Eight men from across the Midlands claim they were abused by Catholic priest Alexander Bede Walsh, below, over a 20-year period between 1974 and 1994.

The 58-year-old is currently on trial charged with 27 offences of indecency, buggery and indecent assault.

Incidents are said to have taken place across Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Coventry, including at Cotton College, in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Walsh, aged 58, was also a priest in Cheadle for 14 years.

He denies all the charges against him.

Yesterday, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard from a man who said he was invited to stay with Walsh at the college.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Walsh climbed into his bed during the night and committed a serious sexual offence.

He described what happened as 'very painful' and that Walsh, who was known to most people as Father Bede, acted like nothing had happened the following day.

The man told the court a similar thing happened when he went to visit him in Cheadle.

He said he didn't tell anyone "because it is something you don't discuss" but later told a family member who was a very strict Catholic.

The man said: "I said Father Bede was touching me in not a nice way.

"She told me not to be so silly."

Walsh faces two counts of buggery and two counts of indecent assault in relation to the victim, who claims other incidents took place in a swimming pool, and a shower.

He also said Walsh took photographs of him in provocative positions "like pictures in a pornographic magazine". Walsh, of Church Lane, Abbots Bromley, near Rugeley, has a previous conviction for downloading indecent images of children from the internet.

Mark Watson, defending, has suggested to the jury that press coverage from Walsh's conviction and stories about pay outs by the Catholic Church in relation to similar cases has had an impact on some of the witnesses involved in the trial.

He asked one of the alleged victims: "Is it that anything he has done in innocently taking you swimming, you have twisted your recollection into anything that is more sinister?"

The man replied: "I don't think so."

Mr Watson has also questioned alleged victims on why they continued to see Walsh after the incidents.

One of them said: "We were strict Catholics.

"We wouldn't believe that someone like that would do that."

The first complainant in the case came forward in 2006, others followed between 2008 and 2011.

The is due to continue today at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.


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