Paedophile priest admits abusing children in East Midlands

Francis Paul Cullen in the 1960s and in 2013 Francis Paul Cullen abused children in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire while serving as a priest in several parishes

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An 85-year-old Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to a series of child-related sex offences after being extradited from Tenerife.

In a hearing at Derby Crown Court, Francis Paul Cullen admitted 21 counts of indecent assault on seven children.

The abuse of boys and girls aged six to 16 took place from 1957 to 1991.

Cullen, born in Dublin, worked in Scunthorpe, Leicester, Nottingham and Alfreton, Buxton and Mackworth, Derbyshire.

'Terrible crimes'

A spokesman for the Diocese of Nottingham said he was pleased Cullen had "taken responsibility for his terrible crimes".

Cullen was first arrested in Nottingham in 1991, but he skipped bail and fled to Tenerife in Spain where he lived for more than 20 years.

Start Quote

Nothing can take away the horror of what happened to them, but I hope that today's verdict will help them in some small way”

End Quote Father Andrew Cole Nottingham Diocese

Cullen will be sentenced on 24 March.

Father Andrew Cole, spokesman for the Diocese of Nottingham, said: "I would like to offer our sympathy to those who have been affected by this tragedy in any way and assure them that we will do whatever we can to support them.

"I also wish to thank Cullen's victims for their bravery in coming forward after many years of silence; it is due to them that Cullen has pleaded guilty.

'Inconceivable'

"Nothing can take away the horror of what happened to them, but I hope that today's verdict will help them in some small way to find peace."

Derbyshire Police urged any other victims who have not yet come forward to contact them.

"Given the length of the offending history of this investigation, which lasted from 1955 to 1991, I believe it is inconceivable that there are not more victims of this man's crimes," Det Con Matt Goodwin said.

Cullen worked as a priest at the Mackworth parish of Christ the King in Derbyshire between 1960 and 1978.

He was parish priest in Buxton from 1978-87 and in Hyson Green, Nottingham from 1988-91.

He retired in September 1991.

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