Irish priest faces charges of sexually assaulting British boys

Irish priest faces charges of sexually assaulting British boys

AN ELDERLY Irish priest is to be extradited to Britain to face charges of sexually assaulting boys in the East Midlands between 1955 and 1991.

Francis Paul Cullen, 85, was arrested in Tenerife following an investigation by Derbyshire Police. The Catholic Diocese of Nottingham said they are “very keen” on him being returned to Britain to face the charges.

Mr Cullen, a Dublin-native with British citizenship, was detained in the town of Arona under a European Arrest Warrant last week.

He then appeared before the High Court in Madrid, where he consented to being handed over to the authorities. His extradition was ordered by Judge Eloy Velasco.

Mr Cullen faces 16 charges dating back more than 40 years. The Irish Post understands Mr Cullen is not expected to be extradited this week.

Father Andrew Cole, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham, said the diocese is assisting police with their enquiries.

“We have encouraged them in their investigation and we are very keen for him to come back so that he can face the charges that will be laid before him,” Fr Cole added.

“The Church hopes that all perpetrators of the abuse of children will be brought to justice, not least so that the victims of these terrible crimes can be helped.”

Spanish authorities reported that Mr Cullen is alleged to have abused three altar boys between the ages of 7 and 12. The abuse is alleged to have taken place in religious centres and churches.

Derbyshire Police confirmed the arrest, but did not name the 85-year-old. A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary added that the force’s investigation has been assisted by the Serious Organised Crime Agency and Spanish police.