Priest facing charges over alleged sex assaults on Rochdale schoolgirls could be extradited from Ireland

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Police seeking advice over whether Canon Mortimer Stanley could be brought back to the UK after GMP are given the go-ahead to charge him.

The Manchester Evening News reports:- “A retired priest may have to be extradited to face a string of sex charges involving schoolgirls.

The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Greater Manchester Police to charge Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, after numerous complaints by former pupils at a Rochdale school.

The clergyman, who is now living in Ireland after retiring from St Vincent de Paul RC Church in Norden, was first quizzed by police last year.

He is now due to face 17 charges of indecent assault on girls under 14.

The allegations involved ten victims and are said to have taken place between 1977 and 2002. All the victims were pupils at St Vincent’s Primary School, which has been historically linked to the parish.

Canon Stanley, who lives in Ballybunion, Kerry, has twice travelled to Greater Manchester to answer police questions.

But the MEN understands that police are now considering extradition proceedings in order to press charges.

One source close to the investigation said Canon Stanley was being given legal advice NOT to return to Rochdale again. The source added: “Because he is not in the UK a summons may not compel him to attend. Police are now taking legal advice.”

The priest was originally interviewed in November 2013, when three women claimed they were indecently assaulted and sexually abused while pupils at nearby St Vincent’s Primary School.

And he returned in May this year to be further interviewed under caution about the historic allegations.

The women were under 11 when it is alleged the offences happened more than 30 years ago.

It is claimed the abuse was committed in a presbytery next to the school. After the M.E.N reported the allegations six other women came forward with information.

Canon Stanley, who joined the church as a parish priest in 1972, retired to his native Ireland in 2002.

The senior clergyman was in charge when the church opened in 1975 at St Vincent.

In a statement last year, the Roman Catholic Salford Diocese said: “The Diocese is co-operating fully with the police and the statutory agencies in these investigations in line with the robust safeguarding policies put in place by the church in this country in recent years.”

The CPS confirmed authorisation had been given for Canon Stanley to be charged”

Niamh Harris
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