Priest still fighting warrant on abuse charges
Published 15/02/2010 | 05:00
A US-based Irish priest, who is accused of raping a 15-year-old boy, has just 48 hours left to fight his extradition to Ireland to face abuse charges.
For the past 18 months, Fr Francis Markey (82) has been fighting the attempts by the Director of Public Prosecutions to bring him back to Ireland, but a US judge has ruled that he must face the charges.
Mr Justice Christopher Nuechterlein said he accepted that the evidence of a crime -- which was based soley on the alleged victim's claims -- may be "weak", but he said that was up to the Irish courts to argue and that the retired priest must face the charges.
"The evidence before this court may be weak. It may be suspect," the judge said.
"But it's simply not the role of this court to weigh the evidence. That's up to the Irish court."
He has now given the two sides until Wednesday to make further motions and Fr Markey's attorney, Mahmoud Bassiouni, has pledged to file more motions to block the extradition.
The judge has agreed to allow the elderly priest to remain free on bail until then. However, he could be taken into custody on Wednesday and extradited to Ireland.
On foot of an extradition warrant, he was arrested in November at his Indiana home in connection with the alleged rape of a 15-year-old boy in 1968.
The priest, who was based in Monaghan, is accused of raping the boy twice.
The now 57-year-old made a complaint to gardai in June 2006. He said he recalled the abuse in 2005 after reading the Ferns report.
On Friday, Mr Bassiouni argued that the only evidence was a report by the alleged victim, who recalled being molested by the priest whilst recently undergoing counselling for alcoholism. Mr Bassiouni wanted to introduce evidence that improperly trained counsellors could 'induce' clients to recall abuse.
But assistant US attorney Kenneth Hays argued that Fr Markey's attorneys were trying to "contradict" rather than "explain" the State's evidence, something not allowed in extradition cases in US law.
The judge said he would also rule against a second argument, that because of a change in Irish law in 1993 -- which abolished the law against 'buggery' -- his extradition was unlawful. He said that regardless of the change, it was still illegal in Ireland to have sex with children.