Scotland

Monk accused of child abuse will not appeal extradition

Fort Augustus School

An ex-Catholic monk who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school has opted not to appeal his extradition.

Fr Denis "Chrysostom" Alexander, 83, had previously challenged a decision by the Australian government to surrender him to face trial in Scotland.

Last month the federal court dismissed his case for a judicial review against the attorney general.

Fr Alexander, who denies the allegations, had 28 days to lodge an appeal but failed to do so.

The 13-page federal court ruling included a summary of the charges the ex-monk faces.

It is alleged that between 1970 and 1976 he "engaged in acts of physical and sexual abuse" against six complainants, aged between 11 and 15.

The Crown Office launched extradition proceedings against Fr Alexander in December 2016, but since then he has contested the move on health grounds.

Fr Alexander was arrested in Sydney almost three years ago and has been in custody ever since.

The Crown Office said extradition proceedings were "ongoing".

Timeline

July 2013: BBC airs Sins of Our Fathers, revealing decades of sexual and physical abuse at the Fort Augustus Abbey School and Carlkemp preparatory school, and confronts Fr Alexander in Sydney

December 2015: The Crown announces plans to extradite Fr Alexander back to Scotland

January 2017: Fr Alexander is arrested in Sydney and remanded in custody

May 2017: Fr Alexander is found eligible for extradition by an Australian court. He appeals, claiming he is too ill to travel

March 2019: The attorney general of Australia determines that Fr Alexander be surrendered to the UK. Fr Alexander seeks a judicial review

November 2019: The federal court of Australia dismisses Fr Alexander's application for a judicial review

December 2019: Fr Alexander does not lodge an appeal against the federal court ruling within the 28-day deadline

Run by Catholic Benedictine monks, Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands closed its doors to the public in 1993.

Allegations of decades of child sexual and physical abuse at the exclusive boarding school were finally made public by BBC Scotland Investigations Correspondent Mark Daly in June 2013.

He spoke to former pupils who claimed they were abused by monks or teaching staff over five decades.

Many of those then reported their allegations to the police, sparking a major historical abuse police inquiry.

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