I'm Staying in US, Says Priest Accused of Abuse

By Emma Pinch
Birmingham Post
August 2, 2005

West Midlands Police is to consider extraditing a priest accused of abusing children after he snubbed a request by the Archbishop of Birmingham to return to Britain.

Father James Robinson moved to the US in 1985 amid allegations he had abused several young boys during the 70s and 80s.

He was alleged to have systematically abused youngsters while training at Oscott College, Sutton Coldfield, as parish priest at St Elizabeth's in Foleshill, and then again at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Cradley Heath.

It has emerged that three Midland men are now suing the Archbishop of Birmingham and the archdiocese's trustees in the High Court for failing to protect them against Robinson.

Robinson was barred from acting as a priest in 1993.

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, wrote to Robinson, via his lawyer in California, pleading with him to return to Britain and face the allegations surrounding him.

But Robinson emailed back denying he did anything wrong and saying he had no intention of returning to Britain.

Police have wanted to question Robinson since reports were made to officers of alleged abuse concerning an altar boy in Cradley Heath.

In September, West Midlands Police will meet lawyers from the CPS to discuss whether extraditing him from the US is feasible.

The move follows two years of campaigning by a man who was himself abused by priest Eric Taylor at the notorious Father Hudson's Home in Foleshill.

The man -- whose name cannot be used for legal reasons - was interviewed by West Midlands Police about Robinson several years ago and he has continually pressed for a decision to be made on the subject of extradition.

In 2003 the BBC investigative programme Kenyon Confronts tracked Robinson down to a California trailer park.

"I am ready to make a citizen's arrest of Robinson if I need to," said the man.

"I have written to the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger several times and if he thinks it is feasible and will help with extradition I will drop everything to go.

"His legal team has already told me it knows of no California law that would prevent extradition but it is up to West Midlands Police to prosecute.

"If Robinson had been alleged to have committed murder the police would have extradited him from America very quickly.

"But I believe what Robinson was alleged to have done to his victims has taken almost as much from them and damaged their lives irrevocably." One of Robinson's accusers, a married businessman in his 30s, is seeking £250,000 in compensation from the Church and if a settlement is not reached the case is expected to come to court towards the end of the year.

Last month the archdiocese was forced to pay a record £635,684 in damages to a man who was sexually abused as a child by Coventry priest Christopher Clonan.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Birmingham said he was co-operating fully with the police inquiry and had passed on to them correspondence with Robinson.


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