Friday, November 5, 2010

Fr James Robinson 03

AN ex-priest who carried out a horrific campaign of sexual abuse against young boys was jailed for 21 years today.

Paedophile James Robinson was found guilty of 21 charges of sexual abuse between 1959 and 1983.

The beast was extradited back to the UK from California last year after fleeing to the US in 1985 after he was first accused.

Birmingham Crown Court was told the disgraced priest abused six youngsters over four decades.

His victims are all now in their 40s, 50s and 60s.


The court heard he had moved from parish to parish sexually abusing children, including two altar boys.

He gave them gifts and took them on trips in his sports car to get close to them.

Passing sentence, Judge Patrick Thomas QC branded Robinson devious and manipulative and slammed him for running away from his accusers.

He said: "The offences you committed were unimaginably wicked and caused immense and long-lasting — we can only hope not permanent — damage to the six victims.

"You used, you abused your position of trust, your position of authority and total trust within the communities that you moved to and from."

He added: "You enjoyed, I have no doubt at all, selecting your victims, choosing vulnerable children.

"You enjoyed doing your best to habituate them, to groom them into accepting what you did to them.

"You were and are sufficiently devious, manipulative and bold to have got away with a highly risky sequence of sexual encounters over a period of 25 years."

Despite fleeing the country after the allegations surfaced Robinson was kept on by the Archdiocese of Birmingham until December 2001, earning up to £800 a month and bagging a separate payment of £8,400 in 2000.

But Robinson, 73, still claimed in court he could not afford to return to Britain.

Describing the Catholic Church's role in Robinson's case as highly questionable, Judge Thomas said: "It is 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 [Robinson's victims]."

Robinson turned his back on a professional boxing career in his 20s to become a Roman Catholic priest. He worked in the Black Country, Staffordshire, Birmingham and Coventry after being ordained in 1971.

Robinson, originally from Brownhills, near Walsall, West Mids, received a unanimous verdict.

He did not face charges relating to two of his six victims because they contacted cops after he was extradited. But they were allowed to give evidence in support of the other four.

Judge Thomas added: "You fled the country and hid yourself away, hoping and believing that you were beyond the reach of the law.

"Fortunately, the law does not forget, your victims would not forget and you have been brought to justice."

Another three victims came forward during the police investigation but declined to take part in the prosecution and cops believe there are more.

Detective Sergeant Harry May said: "I have no doubt there are more victims, not only in this country but in America.

"On a personal note, I would like to say how brave these men have been, giving their testimonies in court.

"We couldn't have done it without them."


Detective Chief Inspector Steve Bimson, who headed the Major Investigation Team, said: "He became ingrained in these families, he became a trusted member of the family, so he could target these individuals.

"But it wasn't recognised at the time that this was taking place.

"We have heard evidence from people who thought he was a fine priest who would come into a parish and make changes and start motivating people.

"They found it difficult to believe he had committed this abuse.

"But clearly the evidence and the decision of the jury by accepting what the victims have said, demonstrates this abuse has taken place and Robinson did live this double life."

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