Priest found guilty of abusing young children


A Catholic priest was today found guilty at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court of sexually abusing young children.

Alexander Bede-Walsh, aged 58, was found guilty of 19 counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery, which were all historic offences dating back to the 1970's, 80's and 90's. He will be sentenced on 9 March 2012 at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Sue Hanson, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "This has been a protracted enquiry, involving injured parties who originated from Coventry and Staffordshire, but were now scattered across the country and indeed abroad.

"The CPS was involved in the case from a very early stage, advising before charge, authorising charge in respect of the original group of injured parties, expanding the charges when further victims came to light and then conducting the case through to today's conclusion.

"As the case progressed it became clear that the defendant's previous convictions for possession of indecent images were going to be relevant as they demonstrated a sexual interest in young boys, which he had consistently denied throughout the investigation. An application for that Bad Character evidence to be admitted during the trial was therefore submitted, and was considered by the judge on the first day of the trial.

"Because of the defendant's position as a priest, the victims and their families had trusted him completely, but the defendant abused that trust when he committed these offences.

"I hope that today's verdict brings a sense of closure for the victims and their families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for supporting this prosecution and also Staffordshire Police for their thorough investigation."