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Priest denies abuse of seven boys

A former Catholic priest today denied sexually assaulting seven boys who are alleged to have been abused between 1974 and 1994.

Alexander Bede Walsh pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of indecent assault and two other serious sexual offences when he appeared before a judge at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Walsh, who served as a priest in Coventry and in the Cheadle area of north Staffordshire, will stand trial on a date to be fixed.

The 57-year-old, of Church Lane in Abbots Bromley, near Rugeley, Staffordshire, was charged with the offences earlier this year after a detailed investigation by detectives from Staffordshire Police.

The charges allege that Walsh, who was released on conditional bail, indecently assaulted boys aged between seven and 16 on various dates between July 1974 and December 1994.