Former priest arrested in Italy extradited to Arizona, formally arraigned

Catholic News Service

June 17, 2019

Joseph J. Henn, a former U.S. Salvatorian priest who was extradited from Italy to face charges of child sex abuse in Arizona, is seen in a June 14, 2019, police photo. Italian police arrested Henn May 28 after Italy’s highest court confirmed his extradition to the United States to face allegations of child sexual abuse in Arizona. CNS photo/ Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office via Reuters

Henn, now 70, was accused of molesting at least three boys under the age of 15 between 1979 and 1981 when he was living and working in Phoenix. He served at St. Mark Parish in Phoenix from 1978 to 1982 as a Salvatorian priest.

In 2003, Arizona’s Maricopa County indicted him on 13 counts related to child molestation. He fled to Italy, where he was arrested in 2005. That country’s highest court confirmed his extradition to the United States to stand trial, but he disappeared before he could be extradited. Henn was expelled from his order and removed from the priesthood in 2006.

In late May, Michele Gentiloni, Henn’s attorney, said his client was taken into custody after trying to use his expired U.S. passport as identification to pick up some medicine he needed. A spokesman for the Carabinieri, the Italian police force that apprehended Henn, disputed that version of events, claiming instead that the priest had requested assistance at a city-run immigrant assistance center using a false name.

In a May 31 statement about Henn’s arrest, the Diocese of Phoenix said it was pleased he had been apprehended. The diocese also said it supported the efforts of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to extradite Henn and return him to the United States “to face the criminal charges against him.”

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