Church attacked after paedophile priest jailed for sexual abuse
The Catholic Church was criticised in court as a paedophile former priest was jailed for a campaign of sexually abuse against young boys that spanned four decades.
James Robinson, 73, who fled to the US in 1985, was found guilty of 21 sexual offences at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday after being extradited from America.
The jury heard he carried out a string of abuses against six victims, including two altar boys, between 1959 and 1983.
Robinson, who worked in the Black Country, Staffordshire, Birmingham and Coventry after being ordained as a priest in 1971, denied all the charges but was jailed for 21 years.
The court heard Robinson continued to be paid up to £800 a month by the Archdiocese of Birmingham until December 2001, despite officials being aware of the allegations.
Robinson told the court he had been unable to afford to return to Britain, but the jury later heard that in February 2000 the archdiocese sent him a cheque worth £8,400.
Judge Thomas said: "The role of the Catholic Church [in the case] is questionable, but it's not for me to judge.
"Others may take the view that a full investigation and full disclosure of the results of that investigation is due to the members of that church and [the victims]."
Describing the defendant as "devious, manipulative and bold", the judge said Robinson's crimes were "unimaginably wicked".
He added: "You used, you abused your position of trust, your position of authority and total trust within the communities that you moved to and from."
The judge also condemned the defendant's decision to emigrate in the hope of outrunning the law, adding: "Fortunately, the law does not forget, your victims would not forget and you have been brought to justice."
The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, issued a statement after the case confirming that Robinson would be defrocked after his convictions.
The archbishop, who refused to answer questions about the Church's role in Robinson's case, said: "The Archdiocese of Birmingham sincerely regrets James Robinson's serious betrayal of the trust placed in him."