A 79-year-old former priest has been given a four-year suspended sentence for sexually assaulting a pupil at a Co Wexford school in the 1960s.

The former priest pleaded guilty to eight counts of gross indecency against a boy who was 14 at the time the incidents started.

Wexford Circuit Court heard the accused assaulted his victim at night 12 to 14 times over a two-year period.

His victim told the court by way of a victim impact statement that it had taken him decades to go to the authorities.

The court heard the accused man remained a priest until 2002, and has since been laicised.

His defence counsel told the court that he had accepted responsibility and that he was totally to blame; that he had deep sorrow for what he had done and a lasting regret.

The court was told the accused has heart problems and other medical conditions, that he wasn’t a danger to the public and there was nothing to indicate he had been involved in anything since.

Judge Pauline Codd described it as a “gross breach of trust” perpetrated on a young boy over a sustained period of time.

She took a number of mitigating factors into account, including his guilty plea and acknowledgement that he had caused suffering to his victim.

She imposed a four-year sentence but suspended it on the condition he enter into a bond of €250 to keep the peace for five years and attend sex offender therapy.