26 Nov 2012

Catholic sex offender reported to have fled

7:19 pm on 26 November 2012

The police are keeping tight lipped about reports that a convicted sex offender has fled to Sri Lanka from New Zealand to work on a tea plantation.

Bernard Kevin McGrath, who is a former St John of God brother, had 252 charges of sexual abuse laid against him in an Australian court on 27 June.

The Press newspaper has reported he left for Sri Lanka about that time.

The report says he was able to do so because the Australian authorities trying to extradite him were too slow.

The mother of one McGrath's victims, who wants to be known as Jan, says she is horrified he was able to leave.

"I couldn't believe that McGrath had got away, particularly as I understood that a lot of work had been done in New South Wales to deal with McGrath and pick him up in New Zealand. I don't know what's gone wrong."

New Zealand police say they were contacted for help with the extradition four-and-a-half months after the charges were laid.

Australian police would only say they had an action plan in place to pursue McGrath.