UK priest charged with abuse fled abroad with £182,000 from Vatican bank account

Catholic priest Fr Laurence Soper withdrew £182,000 from a Vatican bank account before fleeing to Kosovo after he was accused of sexually abusing children, a court has heart. 

Soper, 74, formerly Abbot of Ealing, was accused of abusing boys while he was headmaster of St Benedict's School in Ealing during the 1970s and 80s.

Former priest Laurence Soper has been arrested in Kosovo.Metropolitan Police

One of his alleged victims said children had been 'targeted by predators and assaulted', according to the Mail Online.

Soper was living in Rome at the headquarters of his Benedictine order when was called to the UK to be interviewed about the claims of abuse. He was allowed to return to Rome on police bail, but fled to Kosovo in March 2011 just before he was due to attend a police station in the UK, taking 204,000 euros with him.

During his time at the school he used canings as a means of punishment, being described by one alleged victim as a 'sadist'.

Prosecutor Gillian Etherton QC told the court canings were allowed in the school at the time, but were 'carried out by Mr Soper in entirely inappropriate ways'.

He has been charged with 19 alleged sex offences relating to 10 complainants, including buggery and indecency with a child.