An Irish priest accused of raping a 15-year-old boy is fighting moves to have him extradited to Ireland, and wants to stay out of jail (on bail) while doing so.

Fr. Francis Markey, who is 82, currently lives in Indiana. The accusation of rape dates back to 1968, when the priest was based in Monaghan, the Irish Independent reported yesterday. The alleged victim is now 57, and he brought a case after reading the Ferms report, which in 2005 documented instances of child abuse that occurred in the diocese of Ferns in Wexford. The man claims Fr. Markey raped him on two occasions when he was a boy.

Markey’s lawyers argue that he should be allowed to remain on bail while filing motions to avoid extradition.

Markey was arrested in his home in November. He had been living at an address in South Bend, Indiana, for about 10 years, where he worked as drug rehabilitation counselor, often with young people, according to local newspaper the South Bend Tribune. Catholic church officials say Markey did not work for the diocese there.

But the US sex abuse activist group, The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), has called for Indiana bishops to support a case against Markey, and on Thursday they held protests in Indiana.

“SNAP wants current and former church officials and church members, in Indiana and Michigan, to aggressively reach out to anyone with information about any misdeeds by Markey,” the group announced on its website, explaining that they want Indiana bishop Kevin Rhoades to use all possible means to encourage other possible victims to speak out.
The group adds, “All too often, Catholic hierarchy does the bare minimum, and responds only to subpoenas, rather than taking the initiative to help law enforcement find victims, witnesses and information that can help build strong criminal cases against predator priests.”

Indiana judge Christopher Nuechterlein told the Irish Independent that evidence for Markey’s crime may be “weak” but said it is up to Irish courts to make the decision.

The Ferns diocese in County Wexford was subject of a report in 2005.