Paedophile priest Francis Paul Cullen jailed for 15 years

Francis Paul Cullen in the 1960s and in 2013 Francis Paul Cullen abused children when he was a priest in Derbyshire and Nottingham

Related Stories

A priest who sexually assaulted seven children before spending more than two decades on the run in Spain has been jailed.

Francis Paul Cullen abused the boys and girls between 1957 and 1991, when he was a priest in Derbyshire and Nottingham.

The 85-year-old pleaded guilty to 21 offences last month after being traced to Tenerife then extradited to the UK.

At Derby Crown Court, he was jailed for a total of 15 years.

'Cunning, devious, arrogant'

Judge Jonathan Gosling told him: "You took full advantage of your position, and the trust in which you were held, to satisfy your perverted lust.

Timeline of abuse

Paul Cullen
  • 1953 - Dublin-born Paul Cullen is ordained as a priest in Birmingham
  • 1957 - He worked at Christ the King church, Mackworth, when the earliest abuse happened
  • He later served at St Anne's church in Buxton
  • Late 1980s - He served at St Mary's in Hyson Green, Nottingham
  • 1991 - He retired from the church because of "ill health"
  • The same year he appeared at Nottingham Magistrates' Court on charges of sexual abuse but skipped bail a month later
  • 2012 - Found on Tenerife after police circulated information
  • February 2014 - He pleads guilty at Derby Crown Court to 21 offences

"It is impossible to reconcile the fact that you were administering the sacraments of the Catholic Church - baptism, confession, communion, confirmation - at the same time as you were indulging yourself with these children, some of whom served you on the altar at which you celebrated.

"To say that you were a disgrace to your cloth understates your activity. This was gross hypocrisy. In a sentence, your entire life was a lie.

"You were, in reality, cunning, devious, arrogant - in the word of one of your victims 'despicable'."

The clergyman was due to go on trial at Derby Crown Court last month but admitted his guilt on what would have been the first day.

Police believe there could be other victims who have not yet come forward.

Remains a priest

Cullen's youngest known victim was six years old, and his oldest was 14. They included five altar boys and two young girls, some of whom were in court for sentencing.

Father Andrew Cole, Diocese of Nottingham spokesman, said the Bishop of Nottingham had asked the Holy See to "dismiss Cullen from the clerical state in view of him having pleaded guilty to the offences".

Cullen will still technically be a priest, but will never function as one again, Father Cole said.

The defendant fled to Tenerife in 1991 while facing charges of sexual assault brought by Nottinghamshire Police.

He was born in Dublin, but he abused the children while working as a priest in Mackworth and Buxton, both in Derbyshire, and Hyson Green, in Nottingham.

He also worked in Scunthorpe, Leicester and Alfreton.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More England stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a writer accused of blasphemy must run


  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • A woman's stomach with the words "I love IDF"'War porn'?

    Support - and disdain - for women posting sexy selfies for the IDF


  • Malaysian plane wreckage in UkraineFlight risk

    How odd is it to have three plane crashes in eight days?


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Canada.Hidden rail trip

    Canada's tiny, two-car shuttle is a train lover's dream with scenic views

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.