Irish Priest Allowed to Post Bail

By Jeff Parrott
South Bend Tribune
November 17, 2009


U.S. government mum on position reversal.

SOUTH BEND In a brief hearing Monday, the U.S. government reversed its position and agreed not to object to an Irish priest's release from jail on bond, pending the resolution of his extradition proceedings.

Francis Markey, 81, was arrested last week at his home on Miller Court in South Bend and is facing possible extradition to Ireland on charges that he raped a teenage boy there in 1968.

At the Irish government's request, the U.S. attorney had filed a memo opposing Markey's release on bail and was prepared to argue that position at Monday's hearing. But an assistant U.S. attorney for the northern Indiana district, Kenneth Hays, told Magistrate Judge Christopher Nuechterlein that the Office of International Affairs, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, had subsequently contacted him and asked him to stop opposing bail.

The government laid out four conditions for Markey's release: that he post $10,000 cash bond, he surrender his passport, he stay within the northern Indiana and western Michigan areas, and he agree to attend any future court hearings on his extradition case.

Markey's attorneys said they could withdraw the $10,000 within an hour from a bank account Markey has. The magistrate directed the U.S. marshal to keep Markey at the courthouse until the bond is posted and to not return him to the St. Joseph County Jail.

Tom Was, one of a few Markey supporters who attended the hearing, said he was pleased by the development.

"I think that's very good, considering his medical condition," Was said. "You can see he has deteriorated already just from being in jail for that week."

In court, Hays did not tell the magistrate why the Department of Justice had reversed course, and he declined to comment after the hearing.

The magistrate set a hearing for Thursday on whether Markey should be extradited back to Ireland.

Staff writer Jeff Parrott: or (574) 235-6320


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