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Ex-priest to be extradited on child sex abuse charges

A former priest who became a trauma counsellor in London is to be extradited from the UK to New Zealand on 19 charges of sexually abusing 11 different boys.

Alan Woodcock, 54, is alleged to have committed the offences between 1982 and 1985 at St Patrick's College in Silverstream, near Wellington.

The former Catholic priest, from south London has been living in the UK since 1995, most recently working as a trauma counsellor in Heathrow Airport before being made redundant last November.

Describing the nature of the allegations, District Judge Nicholas Evans, sitting at Bow Street Magistrates Court in central London, said: "From all the statements, there are, what on any view, allegations of unsavoury and inappropriate sexual conduct between a teacher and pupil where one has a position of trust and a position of power in the school context.

"There was a difference of age between the defendant and each victim."

Mr Evans said allegations also included suggestions of "grooming and seduction in some cases".

Clair Dobbin, appearing for Mr Woodcock, argued that he should not have had to face all 19 charges on the basis that, in certain cases, there was a lack of evidence regarding the issue of consent.

Rejecting those arguments Mr Evans said: "I now formally commit you to await the decision of the Secretary of State as to your return to New Zealand in respect of all 19 charges."


Former NZ priest arrested in UK (One News)
New Zealander in Britain faces extradition for child sex abuse (AFP)
Irish Church issues statement on child abuse compensation (Independent Catholic News)
[Irish] Church statement on abuse insurance (RTE)

6 Feb 2003