Religion Briefs

Priest accused of molestation extradited back to U.S.

Associated Press/August 4, 2006

Mesa, Ariz. -- A priest accused of 13 counts of child molestation in Phoenix between 1979 and 1981 will be extradited from Italy to Arizona, authorities said.

Joseph J. Henn was indicted by a grand jury in July 2003 as part the Maricopa County Attorney's Office's major investigation into decades of sexual misconduct by clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

Henn, 57, is accused of molesting three boys _ ages 11, 13 and 15 _ when he was a priest at St. Mark's Catholic Parish in Phoenix.

Italian police arrested him last July while he was staying at a residence of The Salvatorians, where he had taken shelter.

Henn has remained under house arrest there while his lawyer fought the extradition request by the U.S. Department of Justice and Maricopa County.

On Thursday, the Italian Supreme Court reaffirmed an appeals court's ruling calling for Henn's extradition.

The Italian Ministry of Justice is expected to order Henn's transfer to U.S. custody within 45 days.

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