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Former Catholic Priest Arrested After Five Years in Hiding for Child Sex Abuse Charges

( [email protected] ) May 16, 2016 11:34 AM EDT
A former Roman Catholic priest was arrested after five years in hiding from authorities of the United Kingdom for alleged child sex abuse.
Former Catholic Priest Laurence Soper was arrested after five years in hiding for child sex abuse charges. Photo: ChristianToday

A former Roman Catholic priest was arrested after five years in hiding from authorities of the United Kingdom for alleged child sex abuse.

Laurence Soper was traced at the remote district of Peja west of Kosovo, and the British Embassy is coordinating with Kosovo authorities to bring Soper back home.

Soper was first arrested in Rome in September 2010 after one of his students at St. Benedict's School, a private independent Catholic school part of Ealing Abbey in West London,  where he taught from 1970's to 1980's, accused him of sexual abuse.

Investigators allowed him to retain his passport and did not take a picture of him for police gallery, telling him through his solicitor to return to London from Italy where he worked.

But after leaving St Anselmo Church on March 4, 2011, to fly to Heathrow, Soper skipped bail and vanished.

In 2012, a European warrant was issued for his arrest. He is already in the mid-70s and had able to elude arrest for five years by covering his true identity using the pseudo name "Andre Insajderit" in Kosovo.

"He has been living with a friend of mine here in Peja. I have spoken and met with him several times and he said he was writing a book,' a resident said.

A Met Police spokesman said they are aware of the arrest and are liaising with the relevant authorities for the priest's extradition. 

Having worked for nearly 30 years at St Benedict's, at £12,000-a-year Soper quit Britain in 2001 for Rome to become treasurer at the Benedictine Order's headquarters at St Anselmo.

A source close to the investigation said in 2012 Soper fled because he knew he was about to be charged.

It was not the first time the school has been in the headlines. In October 2009 a Catholic priest referred to as the "devil in a dog collar" was jailed for eight years for a string of sex attacks on boys.