Moves Begin in US to Extradite Ex-priest over Abuse Claims

By Ronan McGreevy
Irish Times
August 9 2010

EXTRADITION proceedings have begun in the United States against an elderly former Irish priest accused of child sex abuse offences.

Patrick McCabe (74), who now lives in California, is the subject of 10 warrants that have been issued in the Irish courts for his extradition.

Nine relate to allegations of indecent assault and one to attempted indecent assault. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail if found guilty in an Irish court of the offences.

Mr McCabe was remanded in custody last week and will remain there pending the full extradition hearing which is likely to take place this autumn. October 25th has been requested by his defence for the extradition hearing.

His defence attorney, David Cohen, said Mr McCabe was in very poor health and he intended to appeal the refusal to grant him bail at a hearing scheduled for Friday.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1973 and 1981 when he was a priest based in the Dublin archdiocese. They have been made by six men who claim they were abused by him as children.

The men were between 10 and 14 when the alleged offences took place.

One man claimed he was abused by Mr McCabe when he was a pupil at an inner-city school in the 1970s. Another said he was abused at the parochial house nearby. A third stated he was indecently assaulted as a 14-year-old boarder in 1977. Three other men complained to gardai that they were sexually assaulted in Mr McCabe’s home in north Dublin in the early 1980s.

He left Ireland to become a priest in California in 1983. Allegations were first made against him in 1987 and he left the priesthood in 1988. The Director of Public Prosecutions did not pursue the case against him in 1988 because he was not available for interview.

His address was unknown to gardai until he was tracked down by Interpol to an address in Alameda, California, near San Francisco in 2003. He was interviewed by gardai in 2007 on three successive days.

Warrants for his arrest were secured in the Dublin District Court and at Naas District Court and the Government formally requested his extradition earlier this year.

Proceedings were begun in the US district court for the Northern District of California based in San Francisco on July 30th when bail was provisionally granted after a friend put up her house worth $400,000 on his behalf. However on Wednesday he was remanded in custody.

Mr Cohen said his client was not a flight risk as he had surrendered his passport and was electronically tagged. He had also voluntarily surrendered when the charges were made known to him.

According to papers lodged for his defence, Mr McCabe is a “frail, weak elderly man” in poor health with no history of criminality. The claim was disputed by prosecutors, who said he was walking, cycling and practising yoga four times a week.

Mr McCabe’s legal representatives intend to oppose the extradition request on the grounds the offence of indecent assault has no counterpart under US federal law or the laws of California. This is disputed by the United States Attorney’s Office.


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