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Former U.K. priest jailed for sexual abuse

Oct. 22, 2010 at 3:59 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Former Catholic priest James Robinson was sentenced Friday to 21 years in jail in Britain for decades of sexual abuse.

Robinson, who was extradited from California to the United Kingdom last year, was found guilty on 21 counts of sexual abuse between 1959 and 1983, The Sun reported.

Robinson, 73, fled to the United States from Britain in 1985, when he was first accused of pedophilia. Prosecutors said he was moved from parish to parish as a priest, showering gifts on his intended victims to get close to them. He was convicted of abusing six people, including two altar boys. His victims are now in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

"The offenses you committed were unimaginably wicked and caused immense and long-lasting -- we can only hope not permanent -- damage to the six victims," Judge Patrick Thomas said in his ruling. "You used, you abused your position of trust, your position of authority and total trust within the communities that you moved to and from. … You enjoyed … selecting your victims, choosing vulnerable children. You enjoyed doing your best to habituate them, to groom them into accepting what you did to them. You were and are sufficiently devious, manipulative and bold to have got away with a highly risky sequence of sexual encounters over a period of 25 years.

"You fled the country and hid yourself away, hoping and believing that you were beyond the reach of the law. Fortunately, the law does not forget, your victims would not forget and you have been brought to justice," Thomas added.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham in England kept Robinson on the payroll for 16 years after he fled justice, The Sun said.

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