July 19, 2005

Fugitive U.S. priest arrested in Rome

The Dallas Morning News

07:45 PM CDT on Monday, July 18, 2005

By REESE DUNKLIN / The Dallas Morning News

Italian authorities have arrested a fugitive American priest who eluded criminal charges for two years by living with his Catholic superiors a block from the Vatican.

The Rev. Joseph Henn was placed under house arrest at the world headquarters of his Salvatorian religious order over the weekend, said Father John Gorman, one of his U.S.-based bosses.

The priest's lawyer and psychiatrist are urging him to challenge extradition, Father Gorman said. The order opposes that advice, he said, but will still let Father Henn remain at the headquarters as it has since 2003 when he first refused to go back to Phoenix and face the 13 molestation charges against him.

"We can't force him [to return] nor can we throw him out on the street," Father Gorman said.

The Dallas Morning News located Father Henn in Rome last year as part of a series examining how priests move from country to country to stay ahead of sex-abuse allegations, often with church help. Father Henn was one of several accused clerics, some of them fugitives and ex-cons, that The News found living and working in the shadow of the Vatican.

Posted by kshaw at July 19, 2005 11:07 AM