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Irish priest faces extradition from US in abuse case

An Irish priest faces extradition after evading a trail of sex abuse complaints by shuttling between his native country and the US, serving in California parishes and eventually retiring in a waterfront suburb.

Patrick Joseph McCabe (74) faces charges that he sexually assaulted six boys in Ireland from 1973 to 1981. He turned himself in to federal authorities on July 30 and is being held without bail.

His defence attorney, David Cohen, did not return calls for comment. Dublin authorities and archdiocese officials also declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Details of McCabe's case match those of an unidentified priest described in a 2009 report by Dublin High Court Justice Yvonne Murphy, which set off renewed investigations into the accusations made against McCabe and others. According to the report, 21 people have came forward with complaints against McCabe -- none of them in the US.

In strong language, the report says Dermot Ryan and others who followed him as Archbishop of Dublin understood the complaints against McCabe but let him work in churches.

McCabe's case "encapsulates everything that was wrong with the archdiocesan handling of child sexual abuse cases," Justice Murphy wrote.



Stifling

She also called the Irish police to task for "effectively stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing (McCabe) to leave the country."

Accusations of inappropriate or criminal behaviour toward children followed McCabe, even as he shuttled between Dublin and various California towns, according to the Murphy report, extradition documents and California church officials.

Once abuse complaints surfaced in 1982, the Archdiocese of Dublin sent the priest to the United States for the first time -- initially arranging for his treatment in a programme for sexual abusers, then securing a position for him in the Diocese of Santa Rosa in California, the report stated.

Ryan knew the bishop there at the time, Mark Hurley, and "asked him to, as it were, 'rid him of this troublesome priest,"' Murphy wrote.

Church directories confirm that McCabe was in the towns of Eureka and Guerneville when the report lists the priest, whose name was redacted from the Murphy report, as having been placed there.

Monsignor Gerard Brady, who was head of St. Bernard Catholic Church in Eureka, said he would not have accepted McCabe had he known about the accusations.

hnews@herald.ie