Priest ar­rested for child abuse at UK air­port

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Feature/worldwide -

LON­DON — A Bri­tish priest ac­cused of child sex of­fences was ar­rested at Lon­don’s Lu­ton air­port on Sun­day, five years after he went on the run.

Lau­rence Soper was ar­rested on Sun­day as he ar­rived back in the UK from Kosovo, po­lice said in a state­ment.

Soper (72) was taken into cus­tody in Lon­don and is ac­cused of nine sex­ual as­sault of­fences com­mit­ted be­tween 1972 and 1986.

His ar­rest concludes a lengthy le­gal bat­tle be­tween the UK and Kosovo, where Soper was ar­rested in May on a Euro­pean war­rant is­sued by Bri­tain.

Po­lice in Kosovo said at the time he was known as “Fa­ther Lau­rence” and gave his full name as An­drew Charles Kingston Soper.

Ear­lier this month a Kosovo court re­fused for the sec­ond time to ex­tra­dite the Catholic priest, rul­ing he could not be ex­tra­dited be­cause the statute of lim­i­ta­tions for the al­leged crimes had been reached.

Kosovo au­thor­i­ties were not im­me­di­ately avail­able to com­ment on Soper’s return to Bri­tain and his sub­se­quent ar­rest.

Lon­don’s Metropoli­tan Po­lice were un­able to say whether his return to the UK was made pos­si­ble through an agree­ment with au­thor­i­ties in Kosovo, or whether Soper flew to Lon­don vol­un­tar­ily.

A spokesper­son for the UK’s in­te­rior min­istry was un­able to con­firm whether the gov­ern­ment was in­volved in see­ing Soper return to Bri­tain.

The priest had been on the run since jump­ing bail in 2011. He has been ac­cused of abus­ing five pupils when he taught at a pri­vate Catholic school in Lon­don.

Fol­low­ing an in­de­pen­dent Bri­tish re­port de­tail­ing 21 in­ci­dents of abuse by monks dat­ing from the 1970s un­til 2010, the Lon­don school in­volved — St Bene­dict’s — apol­o­gised in 2011 and ac­cepted rec­om­men­da­tions to fun­da­men­tally change the way it is run. — Al Jazeera

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.