Alleged paedophile priest outstays welcome in Kosovo - arrested for child abuse in UK

22 August 2016 - 14:34 By AFP

A British priest accused of child sex offences has been sent back to the UK from Kosovo and arrested at London's Luton airport, five years after he went on the run, police said.Laurence Soper was detained on Sunday as he arrived back in the country, British police said in a statement.Soper, 72, was taken into custody in London and later charged with nine sexual assault offences committed between 1972 and 1986.He was due to appear in Ealing Magistrates' Court on Monday, London's Metropolitan Police said.His arrest concluded a lengthy legal battle between the UK and Kosovo, where Soper has been 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 Roman Catholic priest, saying the statute of limitations for the alleged crimes had been reached.But Kosovo police spokesman Daut Hoxha confirmed to AFP on Monday that Soper had been sent back to Britain."The person in question exceeded the legal time limit for foreigners to stay in our country, and according to legal procedures he has been expelled... to the country of origin," Hoxha said.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.A spokeswoman for the UK's interior ministry was unable to confirm whether the government was involved in seeing Soper return.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.

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