9 Jan 2011

Priest who abused boys for two decades in U.K. and then hid in U.S. extradited and sentenced to 21 years

Google News - AFP October 22, 2010

Ex-priest found guilty of child abuse

LONDON — An ex-priest was on Friday jailed for 21 years for a campaign of sexual abuse against young boys over more than two decades.

James Robinson, 73, who has lived in the United States since 1985 but was extradited from California last year to face trial, was found guilty of 21 sexual offences by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court in central England.

The jury heard that the former Roman Catholic priest, who was ordained in 1971, moved from parish to parish sexually abusing children, including two altar boys.

One victim told the court he had "carried" Robinson's face with him since being assaulted.

Jurors were told that he used his status as a priest to gain "unfettered and unlimited" access to boys, giving them gifts and taking them on trips in his sports car.

Robinson, known to churchgoers as Father Jim, had denied all the offences, which were committed between 1959 and 1983. Jurors deliberated for about six hours before unanimously convicting him.

Unusually, Robinson did not face charges relating to two of his six victims because they contacted the police after his extradition. However, the two were allowed to give evidence in support of the other four.

Paedophile priest scandals and allegations of high-level cover-ups that swept Australia and the United States in 2004 have surged again since last year and rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

A new wave of scandals began in Ireland last November with revelations of widespread abuse, in many cases stretching back decades, then spread to Pope Benedict XVI's native Germany, Belgium, Austria, United States, Brazil and other countries.

The pontiff has faced allegations that, as archbishop of Munich and later as the head of a powerful Vatican body, he helped to protect paedophile priests.

He admitted during a visit to Britain last month that the Church had failed to act quickly enough to stamp out the problem.

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