POLICE WANT PRIEST TO FACE SEX CHARGES.
Police have asked the District Attorney's Office to extradite a Catholic priest who fled to Sri Lanka 11 years ago, before he could be prosecuted on charges of sexually molesting a 17-year-old boy.
Sgt. Kirk Palmer on Wednesday said police want the Rev. Tilak Jayawardene, a former guest pastor at Incarnation Church, to be brought back to this country to face six felony counts of oral copulation with a minor.
``We've had an active warrant for the arrest of this gentleman since this case was filed'' in 1991, he said.
During a recent review of old warrants, Palmer said the original investigator realized a treaty exists between the United States and Sri Lanka that would make the extradition possible. Police previously had incorrect information about the possibility of extraditing Jayawardene, he said.
A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office, Jane Robison, said it's unclear whether Jayawardene still lives in Sri Lanka. She could not say how long it would take to return the priest to the U.S.
``The request is under review,'' she said. ``It's going to take a while to sort all of that out.''
Carolina Guevara, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said Cardinal Roger M. Mahony recently wrote a letter to church officials in Sri Lanka, seeking the return of Jayawardene.
``We have cooperated fully with the Glendale police to help in the case,'' she said.
Guevara noted that because Jayawardene belonged to an order outside this country, the archdiocese does not have any control over his movements.
When allegations of sexual abuse arose in 1991, she said the archdiocese notified its counterpart in Sri Lanka.
According to authorities, Jayawardene, who was then 47, molested the 17-year-old boy between Oct. 23 and Nov. 5, 1990.
At the time, the Rev. Gregory Coiro of the archdiocese said the boy met with church officials before going to the police. Jayawardene was subsequently removed from his post.
However, before police could arrest Jayawardene and file charges, Palmer said he left the country, reportedly because he was being ordered back by the bishop of his home parish in Badulla, Sri Lanka.
Glendale police said they are not aware of any other victims.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||May 24, 2002|
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