DUBLIN, Ireland - The Vatican tried to stop Dublin church leaders from defrocking a particularly dangerous pedophile priest and relented only after he raped a boy in a pub restroom, an investigation reported Friday.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that he fully accepted the findings of the latest chapter in Ireland's investigation into child abuse by Dublin priests who were shielded by Catholic leaders.
Martin called Tony Walsh, 56, an "extremely devious man" who never should have been ordained a priest, and said the report highlighted how the church had grown too powerful and arrogant in 20th-century Ireland.
A state-ordered investigation into Dublin Archdiocese cover-ups reported last year that Catholic 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. The findings sent shock waves through the church and forced three Irish bishops to resign, although the Vatican refused to accept the resignations of Martin's two junior bishops.
A chapter dealing with Walsh was censored from the original report because he was still facing a criminal trial. The Department of Justice published the chapter Friday after Walsh's Dec. 6 conviction for raping three boys over a five-year period three decades ago. He received a 12-year prison sentence.
The investigators - a judge and lawyers acting independently of the Irish government - concluded that Walsh actually raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls while a Dublin priest from 1978 to 1996.
They described Walsh as "probably the most notorious child sexual abuser" of the 46 cases they investigated covering 1975 to 2004. He often performed as an Elvis impersonator in a traveling Catholic song-and-dance production popular with children called the "All Priests Show." The report found this increased his easy access to victims.
The fact-finders based their conclusions on previously confidential Dublin and Vatican documents and interviews with key church figures that took five years to gather.