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Former priest to fight extradition to face abuse charges

 

A former Irish priest said to be responsible for one of the largest clerical sex abuse settlements ever is expected to be charged with a raft of offences after a British  court gave the go-ahead for his deportation.

A court yesterday ordered that Peter Kennedy,72, be sent back to Ireland – less than two weeks after he had been deported to England from Brazil where he had been living for the last eight years.

He faces 55 separate indecent assault charges on 18 different young males between 1968 and 1984.

Kennedy, a former priest with the St Patrick’s Missionary Society at Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, came to light in 2003 when one of his  former victims was awarded €325,000 – one of the largest ever pay-outs at an Irish clerical sex abuse case.

He had been living in Brazil since 2003 where he worked as an English teacher but was deported from there on St Stephen’s Day.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Judge Quentin Purdy gave the go-ahead for his deportation back to Ireland, where he is expected to face a series of charges.

Adam Harbinson, counsel for the Irish authorities, objected to bail being given to Kennedy as he had left Britain for Brazil previously and has no settled address here.

“He is a classic fugitive,” he said.

Defence counsel Joanna French said her client is 72, has no previous convictions and has the means to put himself up in a hotel for a few weeks if necessary.  She said he did not have anywhere else to go.

Judge Purdy said that due to the seriousness of the charges and his lack of ties in Britain, he was refusing bail.

It is expected that Kennedy will be deported within the next 17 days.

The elderly priest, who appeared unshaven in a shirt and green v-necked jumper, did not speak during the brief court appearance.

The suicides of two young men have also been investigated as part of the probe by gardaí.

The former priest was removed from ministry in the middle of the 1980s after which he moved to London under the supervision of the Kiltegan Fathers.

The allegations of sexual abuse stretch back to the 1960s when he was a missionary priest in Africa.

After he moved to Brazil, he worked as an English teacher until the authorities removed him just after Christmas.

 

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