Cleric is rushed to hospital after child-sex charges
A RETIRED Irish priest was yesterday rushed to hospital after he was charged by police in Australia with a raft of child-sex offences.
Fr Finian Egan (right) left a Sydney police station by ambulance after being questioned and subsequently charged with 17 offences dating back to the 1970s.
The 77-year-old cleric was charged with 16 counts of indecent assault and one count of rape over a 15-year period.
The charges relate to the alleged sexual abuse of four different children -- three girls and a boy -- between 1972 and 1987 while he was serving as a priest to parishes in Sydney and the Central Coast.
The priest, who was ordained in Sydney in 1959, was granted strict conditional bail before an ambulance rushed him to a nearby hospital for treatment for heart problems.
In a statement, Australian police said detectives had "arrested and charged a Catholic priest with child-sex offences dating back four decades".
Delays in both the church's response to initial complaints and the setting-up of a criminal investigation have angered his alleged victims.
A church investigation later found that he had abused two girls, though he has consistently denied the allegations.
One of his accusers, Irishwoman Kellie-Anne Roche, has previously expressed her disgust at learning that he conducted a wedding and was publicly honoured for his 50 years of service as a priest after she had first made a complaint in 2008.
Fr Egan will appear in Ryde Local Court on May 23.