Judge Rules against Priest in Sex Abuse Case

By Jeff Parrott
South Bend Tribune
April 19, 2010

Priest fighting extradition to Ireland.

SOUTH BEND — A federal judge has ruled that a Catholic priest should be extradited from here to his native Ireland to face child molestation charges there.

U.S. Marshals arrested the Rev. Francis Markey, 82, in November at his Miller Court apartment, on an extradition warrant alleging that he raped a 15-year-old boy twice in Ireland in 1968.

Markey has fought the extradition process each step of the way in South Bend’s U.S. District Court, but Magistrate Judge Christopher Nuechterlein has ruled against him. His final attempt was a petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus from U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.

A writ of habeas corpus, if granted, would mean that Markey was being jailed without cause and must be released. He is currently held without bond in the St. Joseph County Jail.

The alleged victim has recently recalled the alleged rapes during substance abuse counseling with a therapist.

Markey’s attorneys have argued, among other things, that Markey should not be extradited because the U.S. government has failed to show probable cause for the warrant. They have claimed that Nuechterlein wrongly refused to hear testimony from an expert witness who was going to say that memories of abuse are unreliable when they surface during substance abuse counseling.

Nuechterlein did let Markey’s attorneys describe what the expert witness planned to say. But he ruled that the expert’s direct testimony would contradict the Irish authorities’ charges, something that is prohibited in extradition cases.

An extradition defendant can only enter testimony that explains charges, Nuechterlein ruled.

Miller agreed.

Markey’s attorneys also have argued that because of a 1993 change in the Irish criminal code, the crime with which Markey has been charged, called "buggery," no longer exists.

However, both Nuechterlein and Miller ruled that while the name might have changed under the 1993 code revision, it is still illegal in both Ireland and the U.S. to have sex with children. Besides, under an extradition treaty between Ireland and the U.S, such questions of law must be addressed by the demanding country, Miller ruled.

Markey plans to appeal Miller’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, in Chicago, said his LaPorte attorney, Martin Kus. The U.S. State Department likely will wait to surrender him to Irish authorities until the appeal is heard, Kus said.

That process typically takes two to three months, Kus said.

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


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