24 Oct 2010

paedo priest gets 21 years behind bars

James Robinson ordained as a priest in 1971 in the UK, legged it to the USA in 1985 amidst allegations of abuse. Birmingham Crown Court (– the court that Jumbie has been avoidant of setting foot in for the last 2 years, with all manner of plausible excuses no doubt ^_^ - )  heard how Robinson carried out sexual abuse against 6 victims between 1959 and 1983.

Robinson was paid up to £800/month by the Archdiocese of Birmingham until December 2001. Yes, they were aware of the allegations. But of course a man is innocent until proven guilty. Robinson claimed he was unable to return to Britain due to financial difficulties. However the jury heard how in February 2000 the archdiocese sent him a cheque worth £8,400 – for what, I don’t know.

One victim of abuse said (on Sky News): He became like part of our family... everybody loved him...he was my hero, I was very fond of him. He was a boxer, a local celebrity...I was like a lamb to the slaughter...I was totally under his control, I don't know why.

Robinson began to move around in the USA, with the BBC in hot pursuit. Eventually he was found in a trailer park and confronted by journalist Paul Kenyon of the BBC and a victim of abuse! Robinson had to be extradited to the UK for trial – he wasn’t going quietly.

Justice was eventually served in Birmingham Crown Court when Robinson was given 21 years behind bars. In delivering sentence 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]."

Judge Thomas described Robinson as, "devious, manipulative and bold" and the crimes "unimaginably wicked…You used, you abused your position of trust, your position of authority and total trust within the communities that you moved to and from." Robinson was condemned for attempting to escape justice. Judge Thomas said, "Fortunately, the law does not forget, your victims would not forget and you have been brought to justice."

This story is no doubt part of the overspill from Pope Escapes Arrest in the UK.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham issued the following statement (part excerpted):

"The Archdiocese of Birmingham remains committed to the safety and protection of children and vulnerable individuals and has robust safeguarding policies in place which are continually reviewed and updated. Anyone who has been affected by this case in parishes or the wider community is welcome to contact the Archdiocese of Birmingham Safeguarding Office on: 0121 230 6240."

I’ve been ‘affected by this case’ – though not directly. I wonder if I should give them a call.

Lets be clear about this - some serious questions need to be asked:

  1. Where was God when all the sex abuse inflicted upon innocents/innocence was taking place by those serving that God?
  2. What did God do about it?
  3. If the actions of investigators and courts are to be seen as ‘the hand of God’ – as it is now likely to be seen by the religiously brainwashed – why the hell did God take so long?
  4. Could God not see that in taking so long the problem would get worse and more abuse would be inflicted on innocent people?
  5. Am I not allowed to hold God to account?

Today of all days – this story has tipped me from a position of ‘agnosticism’ to ‘atheism’. The God that I was taught about in my Catholic schooling would not possibly allow or delay for so long in taking direct action on sex-predator priests claiming to serve in ‘his’ name – unless s/he became non-existent.