>BBC News – Former priest extradited from US jailed for boys’ abuse

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22 October 2010 Last updated at 14:03

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Former priest extradited from US jailed for boys’ abuse

James Robinson James Robinson worked in churches in Staffordshire, Birmingham and Coventry

An “unimaginably wicked” former priest has been given a prison sentence of 21 years for sexually abusing boys in the West Midlands.

Richard John James Robinson, 73, was found guilty of 21 charges relating to alleged offences against boys, all aged under 16, between 1959 and 1983.

One victim told Birmingham Crown Court he had “carried” Mr Robinson’s face with him since being assaulted.

Robinson was extradited from the US in August last year.

He worked in churches in Staffordshire, Birmingham and Coventry until the mid-1980s, when he moved to California.

Sentencing him, Judge Patrick Thomas QC, said Robinson was “devious and manipulative”.

“The offences you committed were unimaginably wicked and caused immense and long-lasting – we can only hope not permanent – damage to the six victims.

“You used, you abused your position of trust, your position of authority and total trust within the communities that you moved to and from,” he said.

The jury at Birmingham Crown Court deliberated for about six hours before unanimously convicting Robinson.

The court had heard prosecutor John Atwood say that Robinson had “something of a knack for spotting the quiet child of the family”.

He told the court Robinson was sexually attracted to young boys and used the trust and respect that came with his position to prey on vulnerable children for his own sexual gratification.

The court also heard he used his status as a priest to gain “unfettered and unlimited” access to boys, giving them gifts and taking them on trips in his sports car.

‘Different world’

Robinson did not face charges relating to two of the six victims who gave evidence, because they contacted the police after he was extradited.

However, they were allowed to give evidence in support of the other four victims.

The court heard Robinson’s behaviour did not appear suspicious to his victims’ families because “it was a different world back then”.

Robinson took the boys to football matches and rock concerts, and some of them stayed overnight at the house he shared with his mother.

The prosecutor said the alleged abuse had left some of the men emotionally damaged and needing counselling in their adult lives.

He said the boys did not speak out at the time because they were bewildered, ashamed, and felt they would not be believed.

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