Ex-Cleric Tries to Block Extradition from U.S. to Australia

Deutsche Presse-Agentur [Washington]
April 26, 1996

A former Roman Catholic teaching brother asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to block his extradition to his native Australia, where he faces 36 charges of sexual offences against children.

Gregory Sutton, 45, is being held in a jail in Missouri pending the outcome of the case.

A spokeswoman for the Australian embassy said Sutton was a member of the Marist Brothers order and held a number of teaching posts in Australia before leaving the country in 1989.

She declined to name the schools, citing Australian laws on confidentiality. But papers filed in U.S. courts describe alleged offences against boys, some younger than 10 years old.

"We are currently working with the U.S. authorities to try to extradite the gentleman back to Australia to face the charges," spokeswoman Amanda Buckley said.

Few details of the case are being divulged, in order not to prejudice any trial in Australia, Buckley added.

Sutton, who is believed to be an Australian citizen with right of residence in the United States, asked the Supreme Court, the United States' highest judicial authority, to strike down the federal extradition law on technical grounds.

His attorneys contended the extradition law violates the separation of powers outlined in the U.S. Constitution, because it gives the executive branch of government the power to set aside decisions of the judicial branch. A similar argument has been accepted in a separate case heard by a lower-level federal court.

Sutton has been target of a series of charges in Lismore and other areas of New South Wales since 1992. He was detained in the United States last August.


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