Ex-Principal in Australian Jail

By Tim Bryant
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 10, 1996

Gregory J. Sutton, the former principal of a Catholic school in Florissant, is jailed in Australia on charges he sexually assaulted students at a school where he taught in New South Wales, authorities said Thursday.

Federal marshals slipped Sutton out of the Franklin County jail in Union on April 28. The next day, two marshals and Sutton flew to Los Angeles and then took a 15-hour Qantas Airways flight to Sydney, Australia.

U.S. courts had ordered Sutton's extradition at the request of Australian authorities. He is charged in New South Wales with 36 sexual offenses against youngsters under 16.

Joe Vaughn was one of the marshals who handed over Sutton to New South Wales police. He said Thursday that authorities wanted no demonstrations by supporters or detractors of Sutton when he left from Lambert Field.

Sutton wasn't allowed to telephone anyone in the hours before he was extradited.

"We didn't want any surprises at the airport, really," Vaughn said.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas opened the way for Sutton's extradition when he refused last month to grant any further delays in the process. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here had already vacated an order by 8th Circuit Judge Theodore McMillian, who in February blocked Sutton's immediate extradition.

In the 1980s, Sutton, who is Australian, was a teaching brother at St. Carthages Primary School in Lismore, New South Wales. He resigned from the Marist Brothers Order and traveled to the United States.

Sutton, 45, was principal of St. Dismas Catholic School in Florissant for two years. The Australian charges, made public after marshals arrested Sutton in August, took school officials by surprise. Authorities said they have no indication that Sutton molested children here.

Vaughn said he and Sutton chatted politely during the long flight to Sydney.

"He was very passive and very calm about the whole thing," Vaughn said.


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