Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Irish ex-priest McCabe denied bail, extradition hearing set

Patrick Joseph McCabe (74), a former Catholic priest wanted in Ireland on numerous charges of sexual abuse and currently fighting extradition from the U.S., was recently denied bail by a federal judge in San Francisco.

McCabe was arrested in August on an extradition warrant which he has strenuously contested. 

His attorney has also sought to secure the ex-priest’s release from the Santa Rita jail where he has been held since his arrest.

McCabe is sought for prosecution in Ireland, facing charges of molesting six boys from 1973 to 1981. 

However, should he be successful in his attempt to defeat the extradition order, he will still face a slew of charges stemming from the time he spent as a priest in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California.

When McCabe’s extradition fight first hit the headlines in the U.S., four separate lawsuits were quickly filed against him in California. 

The first two were from men known only as John Doe 76 and John Doe 77, who also implicated the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa in their complaints.

A second pair of lawsuits was filed in Sonoma County court. 

One was on behalf of a nine year-old victim, the other a 17 year old.

McCabe has made six requests for bail which have all been denied by California judges, with the prosecution saying recently that he is “flatly mistaken in his interpretation of the law.” 

The statement came in response to McCabe’s most recent request for bail on the grounds of deteriorating health and the fact that he would be granted bail if he was in Ireland. 

McCabe has also argued that the claims against him have been “unusually delayed.”

The Pasadena, California-based Courthouse News Service quoted U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag as saying: “McCabe abused his position of trust and authority to serially sexually molest young boys to fulfill his own admitted fetish…The fact that the majority of these children apparently delayed coming forward to authorities to report their victimization should be fully expected; it should not, perversely, then be used by their molester as a basis for freedom.”

The prosecution had argued that McCabe was a flight risk and the judge agreed, also citing the fact that the possibility of bail in another country is irrelevant to a case in the U.S.

Robert Beles, McCabe’s attorney, repeated that his client denies the charges and claimed that bail was not set for McCabe because of the “hysteria” attached to sex abuse cases in both the United States and in Ireland. 

McCabe’s extradition hearing has been set for February 4th, 2011.