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Convicted UK pedophile priest visited Timor-Leste

Court told he took boys to his hotel room to 'show them how the other half lives'
Convicted UK pedophile priest visited Timor-Leste

Father Patrick Smythe was jailed in the UK for sexually assaulting boys. (Photo supplied)

Published: April 12, 2022 09:01 AM GMT
Updated: April 13, 2022 06:31 AM GMT

A Catholic priest convicted in the UK last week of sexually abusing boys in his care also came into contact with children in Timor-Leste and took them to his hotel room during visits to the country that spanned a decade, it has emerged.

Father Patrick Smythe, 79, who was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison by Leeds Crown Court on April 7, told police during an interview that he had visited Timor-Leste over a period of 10 years "sponsoring people of the country."

He is also said to have been in contact with children of a similar age to the victims he has been convicted of abusing.

"In the course of that interview, he said he had taken the children back to his hotel room to 'show them how the other half lives',” Prosecutor Michael Morley was quoted as saying by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“This has caused the police and prosecution some considerable concern," he added.

When passing sentence, Judge Simon Batiste told the disgraced priest that he was “a predatory pedophile” who used his position to enable him to abuse boys that were in his care.

He preyed on boys during swimming trips to Leeds in the 1970s and 1980s. He also targeted boys in his care while on a retreat at a hostel in North Yorkshire

Father Smythe's lawyer Susannah Proctor told the court that "there was absolutely no suspicion that the defendant has committed any offenses in Timor-Leste."

UCA News has not learned of any offenses having been committed in Timor-Leste.

The only case of sexual abuse involving clergy was that of defrocked American missionary priest Richard Dascbach, 84, who was jailed for 12 years last December for abusing girls in an orphanage he founded.

Father Smythe, who was ordained in 1967, is the author of The Heaviest Blow — The Catholic Church and the East Timor Issue, a book published in 2004. He regularly visited Southeast Asia’s youngest country while writing the book.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that Father Smythe was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault and one of attempted indecent assault. He preyed on boys during swimming trips to Leeds in the 1970s and 1980s. He also targeted boys in his care while on a retreat at a hostel in North Yorkshire.

Bishop Marcus Stock of Leeds said the Catholic community "feels deep shame and sorrow at the crimes committed by Father Smythe."

He also asked that anyone with any concerns regarding this case should report them to the diocese.

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