British ex-priest found guilty of child abuse

Last Updated: Friday, October 22, 2010 - 23:58

London: A British ex-priest was 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 US 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, US, 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.

PTI



First Published: Friday, October 22, 2010 - 23:58

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