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30 August 2011, Coventry Telegraph

Website set up to help victims of perverted priest

by Emma Stone

Original article here.

A VICTIM of a paedophile priest has launched a website to track down others the clergyman may have abused.

Geoff Smith was living in Walsall in the 1960s when he was targeted by priest James Robinson.

The Catholic priest, who served at St Elizabeth’s Church in Foleshill during the late 1970s and 1980s, was jailed for 21 years last October for sexual offences against four boys from Coventry and Birmingham.

Evidence was also heard from another two of his victims, including Mr Smith.

Allegations were first made to police in 1985 but Robinson fled to California days later. He was finally extradited in 2007.

Mr Smith, who now lives in Ireland with his wife, gave evidence against Robinson after keeping his abuse secret. He has waived his right to anonymity.

Now aged 61, he’s set up an blog to chronicle his experience and encourage other victims to come forward.

“I kept what happened to me a secret for 50 years,” Mr Smith said.

“In court, Robinson stood up, swore an oath as a priest, and told the judge that he’d never met me or my family. But I went to court and proved he was guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.

“During the hearing I sat eight feet away from him.

“He had a tear in his eye and knew what was coming – and he got it. He is pure evil.

“There must be many more victims out there. I want them to know they are not alone.”

It was a weekly errand for his mum to the butchers when he was 11 that changed Mr Smith’s life.

He said: “One day there was a Triumph Bonneville bike leaning against the shop. I was looking at it when Robinson came out. He asked if I wanted to go on the bike.

“I ran home and asked my mum, who said ‘yes’.

“To her, Robinson was a respectable young man. We had no reason to fear him.”

The apprentice priest, who had a temporary job at the butchers, took him on the bike and stopped at a house, where he began the abuse.

Over a number of weeks Robinson took the youngster back to the house for more attacks. The ordeal only ended when he left the area.

Mr Smith added: “It was August 8, 2009 I saw him on the news. I picked up the phone and rang the police.

“Finally, I got the monkey off my back. I had felt a deep sense of guilt and shame. I had no-one to turn to when I was abused.

“My parents wouldn’t have believed me. I sat in court, next to victims now in their early 40s.

“If I’d had the courage as an 11 year-old to report the abuse, they wouldn’t have gone through what they did. Now it’s time for me to help others.”




21 August 2011, Sunday Mercury

Victim of paedophile Birmingham priest reveals torment

by Jonny Greatrex

Original article here.

The schoolboy victim of a paedophile priest has launched a website to track down other children the clergyman may have abused.Geoff Smith was living in Walsall in the 1960s when he was targeted by evil Father James Robinson.The Catholic priest was jailed for 21 years at Birmingham Crown Court last October after being convicted of sex offences against six boys, some aged as young as 10.

Geoff, who now lives in Ireland, gave evidence against Robinson after keeping his abuse a terrible secret for 50 years.

Now the grandad, 61, has set up an online blog to chronicle his horrific experiences, and to encourage other victims to come forward.

“I kept what happened to me a secret for 50 years,” Geoff told the Sunday Mercury.

“In court, Robinson stood up, swore an oath as a priest, and told the judge that he’d never met me or my family.

“But I went to court and proved he was guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.

“During the hearing I sat eight feet away from him. He had a tear in his eye and knew what was coming – and he got it. He is pure evil. There must be many more victims out there. I want them to know they are not alone, and that they can talk to someone.”

Geoff grew up in Aldridge and spent his childhood playing football in the street or watching steam trains.

But a weekly errand for his mum changed his life forever.

“I used to go to Poxon’s Butchers twice a week to get meat or sausages,” he recalled. “One day there was a Triumph Bonneville bike leaning against the shop. I was looking at it when Robinson came out, dressed in a white butcher’s coat covered in blood.

“He asked if I wanted to go on the bike. I was so excited that I ran home and asked my mum, who said yes.

“To her, Robinson was a respectable young man. We had no reason to fear him.”

The apprentice priest, who had a temporary job at the butchers, took 11-year-old Geoff out on the bike and stopped at a house, where he began the sickening abuse. Over a number of weeks Robinson, who was also an amateur boxer, took the vulnerable youngster back to the house for more attacks. The ordeal only ended when the paedophile, who would become a trusted priest in Coventry and Birmingham, left the area. After three months he walked into our kitchen and told my mother and me that he was going back to training school,” said Geoff.

“He gave me a gift of a pair of boxing shorts, stained with his blood. He turned around and walked out of my life.

“I chucked the shorts into the dustbin, where he should have been.”

Stepdad-of-three Geoff moved to Ireland in 1991 where he now lives with his wife. It was there, after half a century of keeping his ordeal to himself, that Robinson suddenly reappeared in his life after news broke of his extradition from the US on child sex charges.

Geoff added: “It was August 8, 2009 that I saw him on the news. I picked up the phone and rang the police.

“Shortly afterwards, I went to Sutton Coldfield Police Station where I had a six-hour video interview. Finally, I got the monkey off my back. I had felt a deep sense of guilt and shame.

“I had no-one to turn to when I was abused. If I had, I would have reported Robinson, then, but my parents wouldn’t have believed me.

“I sat in court, next to victims now in their early 40s. If I’d the courage as an 11 year-old to report the abuse, they wouldn’t have gone through what they did. Now I think it’s time for me to try to help others.’’

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