Belfast Telegraph

'Evil Monk' who abused three young boys has jail sentence increased

By Michael Donnelly

"Evil Monk" Vincent Lewis was back in court on Friday to have his jail sentence of eight and a half years increased by a year for his abuse of three young boys.

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, formally Bro Ambrose of Our Lady of Bethelem Monastery in Portglenone, since jailing him last month he had reflected on it, but was still of the opinion a custody probation order was the appropriate sentence.

Defence barrister Noel Dillon had argued the sentence remain unchanged as the former monk 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 brother, "an evil monk", said that the probation was not another form of Social Services, adding, "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'd been a younger man he would have been jailed for longer for his 57 crimes of indecent assaults, gross indecency and buggery committed against the boys, including two brothers on differing dates, up to 1983.

At the time Judge Marrinan branded his catalogue of abuse as "horrific ... terrible ... and despicable", telling Lewis the "cruelty 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 play thing to slake his perverted sexual desires and showed him no mercy or consideration".

On leaving holy orders at 50, the then printer of memorial and 'Mass Cards', turned his vile attentions on one teenager, who was able to rebuke his advances, before abusing his younger brother.

He unfortunately was unable to fend for himself, and for four years had to endure endless indecent assaults and abuse from the age of nine.

His 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".

And it was yet another "grim reminder of the incalculable damage that a paedophile like the defendant can do".

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