ACCUSED PRIESTS STILL ON THE JOB (Paper: Clergy are being moved from countries where abuse is alleged to places where past is unknown)
The Dallas Morning News found in a yearlong investigation that an international movement of Roman Catholic priests out of countries where they have been accused of abusing children has continued even after the abuse scandal that swept the US church in 2002. In one case, the Rev. Frank Klep, a convicted child molester who has admitted abusing one boy and is wanted on more charges in Australia, was placed in Apia, Samoa, in the south Pacific. Australia has no extradition treaty with Samoa. Among the newspaper's findings:
- Nearly half of the more than 200 cases identified involved clergy who tried to elude law enforcement. About 30 remain free in one country while facing ongoing criminal inquiries, arrests warrants or convictions in another.
- Although most runaway priests remain in the church and should be easier to locate than other fugitives, police and prosecutors often fail to take basic steps to catch them.
- Dozens of priests who are no longer eligible to work in the United States have found sanctuary abroad.