Ex-priest Found Guilty of Abuse

Herald Sun
October 23, 2010

The Vatican has been under fire, which has reached all the way to Pope Benedict XIV, for its past handling of,and current reaction to sex abuse scandals / AFP Source: AFP

A UK ex-priest was yesterday jailed for 21 years for a campaign of sexual abuse against young boys over more than two decades.

James Robinson, 73, who has lived in the United States since 1985 but was extradited from California last year to face trial, was found guilty of 21 sexual offences by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court in central England.

The jury heard that the former Roman Catholic priest, who was ordained in 1971, moved from parish to parish sexually abusing children, including two altar boys.

One victim told the court he had "carried" Robinson's face with him since being assaulted.

Jurors were told that he used his status as a priest to gain "unfettered and unlimited" access to boys, giving them gifts and taking them on trips in his sports car.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

Robinson, known to churchgoers as Father Jim, had denied all the offences, which were committed between 1959 and 1983. Jurors deliberated for about six hours before unanimously convicting him.

Unusually, Robinson did not face charges relating to two of his six victims because they contacted the police after his extradition. However, the two were allowed to give evidence in support of the other four.

Paedophile priest scandals and allegations of high-level cover-ups that swept Australia and the United States in 2004 have surged again since last year and rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

A new wave of scandals began in Ireland last November with revelations of widespread abuse, in many cases stretching back decades, then spread to Pope Benedict XVI's native Germany, Belgium, Austria, United States, Brazil and other countries.

The pontiff has faced allegations that, as archbishop of Munich and later as the head of a powerful Vatican body, he helped to protect paedophile priests.

He admitted during a visit to the UK last month that the Church had failed to act quickly enough to stamp out the problem.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.