Priest Arrested After Skipping Bail and Fleeing Kosovo

News: Crisis in the Church
by Aaron Maxwell  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 22, 2016   

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LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Five years after skipping bail, a priest has been arrested for nine counts of sexual abuse.

Father Laurence Soper, former abbot of Ealing Abbey in London, where he was first arrested back in 2010, skipped bail in March 2011. In 2012 a European Arrest Warrant was issued for him. After living under a false name for five years, he was arrested Sunday at Luton Airport in the United Kingdom.

Father Soper is convicted of nine charges, including buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault against five different boys. Four of the charges relate to a single alleged victim and date from February 1972 to February 1976. The boy was under 14 years of age when Fr. Soper allegedly carried out an act of gross indecency against him. The other charges include indecent assault against four boys under 16, carried out between August 1979 and May 1986.

Since jumping bail in 2011, police have been looking for Fr. Soper, who had been living in Peja, Kosovo under the alias Andrew Charles Kingston.

He was arrested in Kosovo in May, but attempts to bring him back to the United Kingdom were thwarted by a Kosovan judge. The judge blocked the extradition order on the basis that his alleged crimes were committed too long ago.

On Sunday night, Scotland Yard announced that Fr. Soper was arrested on his arrival at Luton Airport from Kosovo. Police in Kosovo told Reuters that Soper had exceeded the time limit of his stay in the country and had been deported.

 

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