The Irish authorities have refused to extradite a Catholic priest who is accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the United States three decades ago, US officials confirmed.
Mgr Patrick O'Keeffe, 67, will remain in Dublin because the accusations against him do not amount to a crime in Ireland, said Drew Wade, a spokesman for the US Justice Department.
O'Keeffe left for Ireland shortly before prosecutors charged him for having sexual contact with a 17-year-old parishioner in the Diocese of San Bernardino.
As the legal age of consent in Ireland is 17, Mgr O' Keeffe's alleged conduct was not illegal there, Ms Wade said.
The statute of limitations for such a crime in Ireland also has expired.
'All we can do is keep our warrant active and if he should ever come back to the US, we could hook him up,' the spokesman added.
The bishop of San Bernardino dismissed Mgr O'Keeffe in 1994 after reaching a confidential settlement in a lawsuit filed by one of three women who accused the priest of having an affair with them.
Mgr O'Keeffe, retired in 1999, but continued working as a religion teacher in the US until the allegations surfaced against him.