An Irish priest who admitted to sexually assaulting 10 boys in the Diocese of Meath, has been sentenced to two years by Trim Circuit Criminal Court.

Fr Raymond Brady from Baltrasna, Oldcastle, Co Meath, acted “like a predator”, said Judge Michael O’Shea, according to the Irish Times.

The 77-year-old priest admitted assaulting the boys, some of them brothers, at different locations including the parochial houses in Drumconrath and Kilbeg and admitted an attempted assault on another boy. According to the Times, abuse also happened in a caravan in Bettystown and in Brady's car as he took the boys to and from funeral Masses.

The majority of the victims were altar boys aged between 11 and 17.

The abuse was revealed when one of the victims told a priest in Co Louth who contacted the Irish police. The investigation was led by Det Garda Moroney of Kells.

Some of the victims were abused as they sat on the priest’s knee in their own living rooms while their mother was in the kitchen making tea, the court heard.

One boy told Det Garda Bryan Moroney he woke in his bed to find the priest standing above him. Apparently, the priest knew the boy was alone in the house and had let himself in to sexually abuse him.

Two of the men, who are now middle-aged, read statements to the court.

One said when he goes to Mass “it maddens me the way we are asked to pray for the church but nobody is ever asked to pray for the abused”.

“I want everybody to know what Fr Brady has done,” he said.

Brady gave evidence and apologized “to anybody I have hurt or harmed in any way."

The court heard Brady stopped the assaults in the 1970s after “an encounter” with a teenage girl who was the victim of abuse, “who opened his eyes to the impact of sexual abuse on a child for the first time."

Defencing Senior counsel Padraig Dwyer said Brady has been suspended for a “considerable period of time from engaging in any activities in connection with the church”, and that he would be laicised after the court case.

When he passed sentence on Brady, Judge O’Shea said, “I am satisfied he acted as a predator.”

He added that the sexual abuse could only be described as “humiliating, horrific and disgusting. He took their childhood and innocence from them.”

Brady received the maximum two-year jail term on each of the 11 charges; they will run concurrently.