Colleary served in the diocese of Phoenix until May of last year. He is now wanted there on two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor.
In May 2002, Colleary was placed on administrative leave by the diocese after admitting that he fathered a child in 1978. He is also accused of fondling a schoolgirl who later became his lover and who subsequently twice attempted suicide.
In December last year, Colleary was also charged with sexually abusing a then 10-year-old named Mark Kennedy, an altar boy at the Holy Spirit parish in Tempe, Arizona, in 1979.
Father Colleary was held in prison until Jan. 8, when the charge against him fell because of statute of limitations provisions. He was then released from jail and returned to Ireland.
However, last June a warrant was issued for his arrest by Arizona?s Maricopa County Attorney?s office and extradition proceedings began. Colleary, who is currently on bail, is now fighting these.
A native of County Sligo, Colleary was ordained at All-Hallows College, Dublin, in 1975.
In his Christmas card messages to friends in Arizona, Colleary thanked them for their support ?while I was unjustly held in Madison Street jail last Christmas season.?
It is not clear how many of Colleary’s former parishioners at the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Phoenix received cards.
In the cards, he described the current charges of sexual conduct with a minor as ?false.?