Tuesday 26 September 2017

Rape-probe priest fights extradition

Group calls on any other victims of US-based cleric to come forward

AN order has been granted in the US for the extradition of Fr Francis Markey, 82, back to Ireland to face two charges of alleged rape of a 15-year-old boy in the Sixties.

Fr Markey, a native of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, has 30 days to appeal the ruling. And the priest could either be jailed for a second time in the US, pending either extradition or an appeal being lodged against the order.

The priest's attorney has argued that his client should remain on bail while he fights the extradition bid.

However, the assistant US attorney for northern Indiana, Kenneth Hays, referred to case and statutory law which he claims requires Fr Markey to be detained once extradition has been granted.

Fr Markey has appeared frail in court hearings and his supporters claim that following his arrest in November, his health took a dramatic downturn -- particularly during the week he spent in jail last year before he was granted bail.

Meanwhile, in another development, abuse victims support group Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has urged the diocese hierarchy in South Bend, Indiana, to reach out to anyone who might have been molested by Fr Markey.

SNAP president Barbara Blaine said the local bishop must tell Catholics in that area that it is their "Christian duty" to come forward with any information they might have about alleged sex crimes involving Fr Markey.

Fr Markey was arrested at his home in South Bend in November of last year on foot of an extradition warrant issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions in Ireland. It is understood that he has lived in the area for approximately 10 years. However, local Catholic Church authorities have said that Fr Markey has never worked for the parish there. Fr Markey is wanted in Ireland to face two charges of allegedly twice raping a 15-year-old boy during the Sixties, once on a trip to Galway and a second time after the funeral of the alleged victim's father.

Fr Markey was ordained as a priest in Maynooth in 1952. Following his ordination, Fr Markey was posted to a parish in Co Monaghan.

In 1964, Bishop Callaghan moved Fr Markey from his parish, and, effectively, he was suspended from the priesthood. Fr Markey then spent approximately five months in St John of God in Stillorgan, Dublin.

Following his treatment, he was posted to Co Monaghan as a curate. While there, an accusation of abuse was brought to the attention of gardai in 1973 after which Fr Markey was suspended once more and again sent for treatment to St John of God.

In 1974 Fr Markey was posted to Inniskeen parish in south Co Monaghan. In 1975 he was suspended from duty in Inniskeen. This time his superiors sent him to the UK for treatment, from where he absconded. He later surfaced in the US.

Then from 1976 to 1981, or 1982, Fr Markey was under supervision in the Clifden diocese in England before joining the Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico.

After leaving that centre in 1985, Fr Markey did not communicate with the diocese until the late 1990s. At one point in the US, Fr Markey was made chaplain of the Betty Ford Clinic.

In response to abuse allegations in 2002, the Bishop of Clogher, Joseph Duffy, wrote to Fr Markey requesting that he return to Ireland to present himself to the gardai. Fr Markey refused.

Last November, Bishop Duffy said: "A retired priest of the diocese of Clogher has been arrested in the United States on the basis of an extradition warrant in connection with allegations of child sexual abuse more than 40 years ago. These allegations were made directly to An Garda Siochana. The priest concerned has not held a position of ministry in the diocese of Clogher since 1976.

"He has been living in the United States since 1982."

Sunday Independent

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