Extradition bid begins for priest charged with raping child after Galway funeral

A Catholic priest living in Indiana is facing possible extradition to Ireland on charges of child sex abuse, including the rape of a child after the funeral of the child’s father in Galway more than 40 years ago.

Father Francis Markey, 81, is accused of raping a 15-year-old boy on two occasions in 1968, according to the complaint filed in US District Court on Tuesday.

The Irish government has requested that U.S. officials send Markey back to his home country for trial.

US marshals arrested him at around 5 pm on Monday while he was standing on the front porch of his home on Miller Court, said Pamela Mozdzierz, an agency spokeswoman.

Markey was arrested without incident and placed in the St. Joseph County Jail, she said.

Ms Mozdzierz said she does not know why Markey lives in South Bend, how long he has been here or if he lives alone.

Representatives of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and the University of Notre Dame said on Tuesday that Markey was not affiliated with either of those organisations.

Markey appeared before Judge Christopher Nuechterlein on Tuesday afternoon in US District Court.

A slight, bespectacled man with a head of thinning white hair, Markey entered the courtroom slowly and gingerly with the help of a cane. Dressed in a navy blue jail uniform, he took his seat alone in front of the judge.

Nuechterlein set the extradition hearing for next Monday, November 16 to give Markey more time to find a lawyer.

The judge then asked him if he had any questions.

“I'm at a loss,” Markey answered softly with an Irish accent, explaining that he is in bad health, has survived a stroke and a few days ago fell and hit his head.

The alleged victim in the case made the accusations against Markey in 2006 — nearly 38 years after the incidents of abuse were said to have happened.

The man said Markey, who was considered a family friend, raped him while he was on a religious pilgrimage in Lough Derg, County Donegal and again after his father's funeral in County Galway, according to the complaint.

The court heard that Irish authorities had issued warrants for Fr Markey in April and May of last year and requested that Fr Markey be held without bail until the extradition request was resolved.

The Irish Director of Public Prosecutions issued a warrant for Markey's arrest in April 2008 for the Galway charges and another warrant in May 2008 for the Donegal charges.

Assistant US Attorney Ken Hays said the Irish Government has requested that Markey be held without bail until the extradition request is resolved.

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