S.African court orders priest’s extradition to Germany
A South African regional court Tuesday cleared the extradition of a German Catholic priest wanted in his home country for the sexual abuse of children, a court official said.
After six years of court cases, Georg Kerkhoff could finally be sent home to face charges if the South African justice minister approves the judicial decision, according to a court clerk.
The judge in the town of Brits, northwest of Johannesburg, ordered Tuesday that Kerkhoff, aged in his fifties, be detained “pending the decision of the minister. The decision should made within 72 hours.”
He had been free on bail since last September.
Originally from Aachen in West Germany, Kerkhoff was sought for alleged pedophilia. He had made a new start in South Africa, where he then was accused of relapsing.
Four boys — then aged nine and ten — who attended a German-language Catholic youth camp near Johannesburg in 2008 complained about offers to sleep in the priest’s bed and inappropriate fondling.
During the court case Kerkhoff found refuge in a Catholic diocese in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference earlier denied any connection with Kerkhoff, or having invited him to work in the country.