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IRELAND: Priest arrested in California freed from jail in Ireland

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Bay Area jail cell (file)
KTVU.com Staff
Bay Area jail cell (file)

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Margaret Heneghan gave 77-year-old Patrick Joseph McCabe his freedom over the weekend based on his age, statements of contrition and the fact that he had served 21 months of a maximum 2-year sentence.

McCabe was extradited to Ireland in June 2011 to face charges that he had sexually abused young boys there in the early 1970s and 1980s.

McCabe worked in several churches in the Santa Rosa Diocese between 1983 and 1987 when he was forced to resign amid allegations he molested four young parishioners in Humboldt County in Northern California. McCabe also briefly served in a Guerneville parish.

The alleged victims sued the Santa Rosa Diocese, alleging the diocese knew McCabe was treated in New Mexico for pedophilia.

McCabe was in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for several years pending his extradition to Ireland.

There, McCabe was facing nine counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted indecent assault on six boys 10-14 years old in two parishes of the Dublin Archdiocese where he was a priest between 1961 and 1983.

He was first accused by Irish police in 1988 and was forced to leave the priesthood that year, according to extradition papers.

Court filings state McCabe left Irish jurisdiction in 1988 and authorities lost track of him until Interpol, the international police agency, reported in 2003 he was living in Alameda.

McCabe surrendered to U.S. Magistrate Maria-Elena James in San Francisco on July 30 of 2011. He was placed under house arrest until Aug. 4 when James ordered he be held in custody while awaiting extradition hearings. He was then taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

On Feb. 22, a federal magistrate in San Francisco ordered him extradited to Ireland.

He was sent to the United States to work after abuse complaints surfaced, and worked in Eureka, Guerneville, Sacramento, Eureka and Stockton before leaving the priesthood in 1988.