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BRAZIL DEPORT FUGITIVE PRIEST BACK TO IRELAND; On-run cleric, 72, returns home to face 55 child sex charges.

Byline: MATT ROPER

A PRIEST accused in 55 child sex abuse cases in Ireland has been deported from Brazil after eight years on the run.

Fr Peter Kennedy, 72, was at the centre of a major scandal in 2003 after one of his victims was awarded pounds 271,000 - the largest known pay-out in a clerical sex abuse case in Ireland.

The man claimed the priest had raped him when he was 13 after coming to his family's Co Sligo home to adminster the last rites to his dying dad.

Kennedy disappeared weeks later after it emerged up to 18 others had accused him of abuse stretching back to the 1980s. More alleged victims have since made themselves known to police.

At the time, the disgraced cleric was rumoured to have fled to Brazil and in 2004 Interpol issued a "blue notice" against him, formally requesting his capture and deportation. Kennedy is now known to have used a British passport to travel from London to Brazil, where he settled in Osasco, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, and taught English.

Brazil's Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported yesterday Federal Police officers had been following the priest's movements for the past four months but didn't make an arrest before necessary deportation documents were finalised.

A source told the paper that, as Brazil and Ireland don't have a formal extradition treaty, police acted with deliberate caution so as not to allow Kennedy time to make legal attempts to block it.

Federal officers finally made their move on Monday morning when they swooped on the priest before taking him directly to Sao Paulo International Airport.

He was then boarded on a plane bound for London, where Irish authorities were waiting for him.

Kennedy was suspended from the ministry in 1986 after claims of abuse began to emerge and he had moved to London, where up until his escape to Brazil he had been working as a taxi driver. Seven years later the Kiltegan Fathers, the order to which Kennedy belonged, paid the record-breaking compensation to his victim following a settlement of a High Court case.

The victim's brother said at the time: "No amount of money can compensate for that [abuse]."
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Dec 29, 2011
Words:368
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