LA Catholic Church May Be Sued over Midland Paedophile Priest

Birmingham Mail
May 13, 2012

UNITED States prosecutors are considering legal action against the Los Angeles Catholic Church after it was revealed that bishops knew a Midland paedophile priest shipped to America had a shameful past.

Birmingham church leaders already knew Father James Robinson had an unwholesome realtionship with a man 25 years before he was jailed for 21 counts of sex abuse on boys.

Predatory priest Robinson, who worked at several churches in Coventry and Birmingham, fled to the US in 1985, days after the police were first alerted by a victim who had been abused as a child.

Months later, the Birmingham Archdiocese wrote to its Californian counterpart, stating that the “immediate reason” Robinson was in America was because he had recently met again “a man with whom he had an unwholesome relationship about 13 years ago”.

Last week, Birmingham Mail sister paper the Sunday Mercury published the letter, written by Vicar General Monsignor Canon Daniel Leonard on behalf of the then Archbishop of Birmingham Maurice Couve de Murville to Reverend Monsignor John Rawden, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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Child sexual abuse campaigners on both sides of the Atlantic claim that the Catholic Church put more children at risk of being targeted by Robinson by trying to cover up his crimes.

Now the LA County District Attorney’s (LADA) office says its lawyers are reviewing the letter to see if a case can be brought against church leaders.

“We have received a copy of the letter, ” said LADA spokeswoman Jane Robinson. “We will be reviewing to determine what action, if any, should now be taken as a result.”

Robinson, 74, spent 23 years in the US before being extradited to Britain in 2009. He was defrocked in 1993 when the Archdiocese of Birmingham wrote again to LA church leaders to tell them Robinson had been accused of child sex abuse, and that he was being recalled to Britain.

But the paedophile remained in the US, and the Archdiocese of Birmingham continued to send money to him until 2000. When he eventually returned to Britain, he stood trial – and was jailed for 21 years at Birmingham Crown Court in 2010.

The trial heard evidence from six victims who told of abuse spanning four decades, from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s.








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