September 2018

Former monk admits further child sex abuse offences

A former monk has pleaded guilty to a series of historic child sex offences, bringing the number of his victims to four.

Vincent Lewis, 90, of Annagher Road, Coalisland, in County Tyrone, is currently serving a sentence for similar offences.

He admitted five counts of gross indecency with a boy and a single count of indecent assault.

The offences were carried out on various dates between 1983 and 1986.

Lewis appeared at Dungannon Crown Court, supported by a walking aid, and accepted each charge as it was read to him.

The judge ruled that pre-sentence reports would be required, as well as a victim impact statement.

He queried part of Lewis’s previous record and asked for clarification before the next appearance.

However, it was accepted those matters related to three victims and the latest case involved a different victim, who came forward following Lewis’s conviction.

The Court of Appeal is to rule on whether his sentence was unduly lenient.

Asked when the judgement was expected, the defence replied the estimated time frame had “come and gone”.

It was decided enquiries should be made about this judgement, as the judge remarked: “It may affect sentencing in the current matter.”

The defence said Lewis was not expected to be released for at least four years.

The case was adjourned until November, with the judge serving sex offender notification papers which Lewis was ordered to sign before returning to prison.

January 2018

Paedophile ex-monk (89) jailed for eight and a half years for sexual abuse of boys

An 89-year-old former “evil monk” who preyed on three young boys, two of which were brothers, has been jailed for eight and a half years after agreeing to serve a further two years on probation.

Vincent Lewis, formally Bro Ambrose of Our Lady of Bethlehem Monastery in Portglenone, admitted to what Judge Desmond Marrinan branded as a catalogue of “horrific, terrible and despicable” sex offences involving the boys over a ten-year period up to 1983.

The Antrim Crown Court also told the former monk, who moved to Annagher Road in Coalisland, Co Tyrone sometime after leaving the Co Antrim priory in 1978, had he been a younger man he would have gone to jail for longer for his 57 crimes which ranged from indecent assaults, gross indecency and buggery.

January 2018

Paedophile ex-monk (89) told he faces ‘significant’ jail term for sex abuse of boys

An 89-year-old former monk has been told he faces “significant” sentences for sexually abusing three boys in the early 1970s and 1980s.

Vincent Lewis, formally Brother Ambrose at Our Lady of Bethlehem Monastery in Portglenone, pleaded guilty to 57 sex offences involving three boys.

The offences happened over a 10-year period up to 1983.

Antrim Crown Court heard Lewis abused one boy while a monk in the County Antrim priory he joined when he was 16.

He then sexually abused two brothers after leaving holy orders when he was 50 and later marrying.

The judge, who adjourned sentence until next week, said Lewis who also once appeared on a dancing programme for BBC’s ‘True North’ series, faced “significant custodial sentences despite his age”

Earlier, a prosecutor revealed that Lewis’, as Brother Ambrose, began the abuse when his first victim was aged 10. The child did odd jobs around the abbey.

The abuse took place both within the abbey buildings, including a guesthouse for those on retreat, and also around the extensive grounds.

He said Brother Ambrose told the child his parents said he had been “bad, but I am here to look after you” before abusing him, and that what he was doing to him “was right”.

The monk, who on occasions plied his victim with alcohol, would also give him his ‘wage packet’ for the odd jobs he did, telling him, “there’s a wee bit extra in there”. The abuse ended when the boy was 15.

The court also heard that the victim, paid an out-of-court settlement in 2000 for the abuse he suffered, eventually went to police after learning that the former monk was not as incapacitated as he had been told.

The prosecutor said Lewis’ second victim was a teenager whom he once tried to abuse on the shores of Lough Neagh after a swim.

The third was that boy’s younger brother, indecently assaulted and abused over a four-year period from the age of nine.

The lawyer said that when eventually questioned by the police, Lewis denied even knowing his first victim, or speaking to him. He then gave ‘no comment’ interviews when asked about the two brothers.