25 Jun 2004

Samoa to deport convicted Australian priest

10:36 am on 25 June 2004

The Samoan government says it will deport an Australian citizen to face outstanding criminal charges against him.

Father Francis Gerard Klep was convicted in 1994 of 4 counts of indecent assault on 2 boys under his care.

He also faces a further 5 charges of indecent assault on a boy who was under his care at a church Secondary College in Australia.

The government says Father Klep has been declared a prohibited immigrant for making a false declaration to enter Samoa.

It says two other Salesian Order priests are also being investigated. - Father John Murphy who witnessed Father Klep's false declaration and Father John Ayres who is alleged to be facing charges in Australia similar to those faced by Father Klep.

The Samoan government says the Catholic Archbishop of Samoa was not informed about Father Klep's criminal past and may have been deceived and misled by Father Klep and senior officials of the Catholic Church in Australia.