Irish seek U.S. priest to face rape charge

Father Francis Markey, 81, an elderly Irish priest based in Indiana, was released from jail on bail on Tuesday pending an extradition hearing later this week.

Markey, originally from the diocese of Clogher, County Tyrone, is wanted in Ireland on charges of twice raping a 15-year-old boy in 1968.

Markey’s extradition hearing is due to take place on Thursday, but he was released from St. Joseph’s county jail in Indiana on condition that he post a bail of $10,000, surrender his passport, stay within the locality and attend his extradition hearing.

The Irish Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had originally requested that U.S. authorities oppose his release on bail at an earlier hearing. However at the hearing U.S. officials told the judge they had reversed this position.

Tom Was, one of a few Markey supporters who attended the hearing, told the press he was pleased by the development. “I think that’s very good, considering his medical condition,” Was said. “You can see he has deteriorated already just from being in jail for that week.”

Markey’s alleged victim made the accusations against him in 2006, nearly 38 years after he said the rapes took place. The alleged rape of the teenage boy took place during a pilgrimage to Lough Derg in Co. Donegal and again in Co. Galway in 1968. The DPP issued two warrants for Markey’s arrest in April and May 2008.

Markey, who was ordained in 1952, has been suspended three times by church authorities. In 1964, he was suspended and sent for treatment in St. John of God’s in Stillorgan, Dublin. In 1973, there was another accusation of abuse. A Garda (Irish policeman) told the local parish priest that Markey needed treatment and he was suspended.

Markey served in County Monaghan between 1952 and 1975 when he was sent to Britain to an addiction-treatment center, but he was never stripped of his post. It is understood he went to South Bend, Indiana, in 1990. He got a job in a center in 2001 counseling people with addictions.

The chief executive officer of Community Healing Centers, Sally Reimes, told the press the Irish priest worked at one of their centers in Niles, Michigan, across the state line from Indiana.

Markey retired in March of this year due to health reasons.

During a previous hearing, the court heard that Irish authorities issued warrants for the priest in April and May last year and requested he be held without bail until the extradition request was resolved.

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