London priest wanted for child abuse arrested in Kosovo

Kosovo police have arrested a Catholic priest accused of child sex offences in Britain and his extradition is being processed, a senior police official said Sunday.

“Andrew Charles Kingston Soper was arrested on Wednesday on a European arrest warrant issued by Great Britain,” chief of police’s directorate for international cooperation Veton Elshani told AFP.

 “He is known as Father Laurence (and) was born in 1943,” Elshani added.

 Soper has been on run since he jumped bail in 2011 before he could be charged with child abuse offences dating back to when he had taught at St Benedict’s School, a private Catholic school in Ealing Abbey in west London.

 He faces accusations of abusing five pupils.

 Soper “was arrested in the eastern town of Peja by the fugitive arrest search team after the police got a hint from abroad that he was there,” Elshani said.

 “The public prosecutor ordered his detention until the court decides on his extradition,” he said, adding that by the law the procedure lasts at least 40 days.

 “It can be shorter only if he agrees to be extradited and does not appeal against his extradition.”  Following an independent British report detailing 21 incidents of abuse by monks dating from the 1970s until 2010, in 2011 the St Benedict’s school apologised and accepted recommendations to fundamentally change the way it is run to protect children in the future.

 ih/ks/ach   -AFP

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