|Ex-Coventry Priest in Sex Abuse Probe
By Emma Stone
February 27, 2008
A FORMER Coventry priest faces extradition from California, 25 years after allegedly abusing altar boys.
Fr James Robinson was assistant parish priest at St Elizabeth's, Eld Road, Foleshill, Coventry, during the early 1980s.
At least two men in the city claim they were sexually abused as boys by him and have been given compensation by the archdiocese of about £25,000 apiece.
Although the allegations were investigated by police, Robinson has never faced a court in this country. He moved in 1993 to California where there was no extradition treaty with the UK.
Now the law has changed and police are asking the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate whether he can be deported to the UK for trial.
West Midlands police have been spurred into action following an internal investigation.
A complaint was made by another victim of sex abuse, a man raised in Rugby but now living in Scotland, that police were not properly investigating the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, which covers Coventry and Warwickshire.
Police admit they failed to investigate his complaint, made after a TV documentary which showed one of the Coventry men confronting Robinson in 2003.
Robinson transferred to a position in the Catholic church in Los Angeles but was barred from acting as a priest in 1993.
When the documentary caught up with him he was working as a caretaker at a trailer park.
That was in 2003, when one of the Coventry men, an alleged victim, travelled to LA with the documentary team.
The married man came face-to-face with the former priest and demanded an apology. But Robinson denied any wrongdoing and ordered him off his property.
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said: "The complaint that the force failed to investigate the Catholic church has been substantiated.
"The complaint that West Midlands Police failed to extradite Fr Robinson has not been substantiated. At the time of the allegations made against Fr Robinson a treaty was not in place to enable extradition from California.
"During 2006 a new treaty was ratified, which means extradition is a possibility. Any requests for extradition will be subjected to judicial practices."
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