Sex case ex-priest believed to be in Brazil

By Liam Reid
Irish Times
January 7, 2004

The former priest at the centre of the largest sex abuse compensation settlement in Ireland may escape prosecution, having fled to Brazil.

Gardai have now completed their investigation into allegations against Mr Peter Kennedy, a former Kiltegan Father, and a file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions However, authorities in Ireland will not be able to extradite Mr Kennedy as there is no extradition treaty between Ireland and Brazil.

Gardai from the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit at Harcourt Square spent over 18 months investigating serious allegations against Mr Kennedy.

Officers took statements from 17 people who alleged they were sexually abused by Mr Kennedy, who was a priest with the Kiltegan Fathers until the 1990s.

The alleged incidents centred around the midlands area, where Mr Kennedy, who is now in his mid-60s, is original from.

The suicides of at least two young men have been examined as part of the continuing investigation.

During the summer, the Kiltegan Fathers made a payment of E325,000, the biggest single abuse compensation award in the history of the State, to Mr Brendan Shannon from Co Sligo. The order has been commended for the speed in which it dealt with the claim. Mr Shannon said he was sexually abused in 1982 by Mr Kennedy when his father was dying of cancer.

The order removed Mr Kennedy from active ministry in the mid-1980s following persistent complaints of sexual abuse against him, dating back to the late 1960s when he was a missionary priest in Africa.

In the late 1980s he moved to London, where he continued to be under the supervision of the Kiltegan order, and worked as a taxi-driver.

He is believed to have left England last year after it emerged he was the subject of a major Garda investigation.

He is believed to be in Brazil, but his exact whereabouts are unknown.

"If there is a direction to prosecute by the DPP, we will not be able to extradite him from Brazil, because we have no extradition treaty with them," according to a source close to the current investigation.

"He will have to return to the jurisdiction, or to one like England where we can extradite him from."






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