Page last updated at 19:20 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Ex-priest held over abuse claims

Father James Robinson (on Kenyon Confronts programme in 2003)
Father James Robinson moved to California in 1985

A former Roman Catholic priest has been arrested in California on suspicion of abusing altar boys in the UK.

Father James Robinson was arrested on 26 January following an extradition request by West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The 71-year-old is the subject of five complaints relating to alleged offences in the Coventry and Birmingham areas.

Father Robinson, who denies the claims, worked in Sutton Coldfield, Cradley Heath and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

He moved to California in 1985.

West Midlands Police began reviewing the claims in 2008 after admitting it failed to investigate when a complaint was made about Father Robinson in 2003.

The complaint came after Father Robinson was tracked down by the BBC's Kenyon Confronts programme and challenged face-to-face by one of his accusers.

A new treaty allowing extradition from California was ratified in 2006.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham said last year it had written to Father Robinson, urging him to return to the UK, but the former priest had refused.

Peter Jennings, press secretary to The Archdiocese of Birmingham, said: "For the past eight years the Archdiocese... has been co-operating fully with the police who have reopened their investigations against James Robinson. As the legal process continues, the Archdiocese will maintain this co-operation."

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