Father Peter Kennedy, 72, a fugitive Catholic priest accused of 55 child sex crimes, has been deported from Brazil after eight years on the run.

Kennedy first hit the headlines in 2003 when one of his former victims was awarded over $420,000 - to date the largest ever pay-out in an Irish clerical sex abuse case.

Kennedy's accuser claimed the priest had raped him when he was 13 after coming to his family's County Sligo home to perform the last rites for his father, who was dying of cancer at the time.

Kennedy disappeared when up to 18 other individuals came forward, accusing him of sexual abuse stretching back to the 1980's.

Police believe the cleric fled to Brazil to evade arrest and in 2004 Interpol formally requested his capture and deportation.


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Kennedy used a British passport to travel from London to Brazil, where he settled on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, making a living by teaching English.

It's understood that Brazilian federal police had been following Kennedy's movements for four months, but they didn't make an arrest until his deportation documents had been finalized.

Brazilian Federal officers finally arrested the priest on Monday before taking him immediately to Sao Paulo International Airport. Later that evening he was taken to a plane bound for London, where Irish authorities waited for him.

Kennedy was suspended from his ministry in 1986 after multiple abuse claims emerged. He moved to London then and worked as a taxi driver until he made his escape to Brazil.

A brother of the victim who received the record pay-out told the press that his mother had caught the priest molesting her son in her own home.

"My mother heard some roaring from my younger brother's room," the man, known as Joe, told the Daily Mail. "She found him on the floor with his pants down. Kennedy was standing over him adjusting his trousers."

"The priest had told him he had power over life and death and the abuse was to have been their secret. My mother ran him from the house and told him never to come back."

The man added that his brother had become an alcoholic at 18 and he had also self-harmed and tried to commit suicide.

"No amount of money can compensate for that. What is $420,000 to a man who had 20 years of turmoil? It won't bring back his life. Until Kennedy is brought to justice the compensation money means nothing."