DA announces Bishop Dupre will not be prosecuted because of statute of limitations

.- Hampden District Attorney William Bennett announced on Monday afternoon that he cannot prosecute Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Dupre on child rape charges because the statute of limitations has expired in the case.

Dupre was charged earlier on the day with molesting two boys in the 1970s. The grand jury returned indictments only related directly to child abuse, and not to other possible charges, such as witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

The indictment was handed up by a grand jury Friday and unsealed Monday morning.

Without those indictments, the D.A. said he was precluded from pursuing the case because the statute of limitations in force at the time of the alleged crimes was limited to six years.

"Even with probable cause, there was a strong possibility that prosecution of such allegations could be barred by the statute of limitations," Bennett said in a news conference hours after the indictment was Bennett said the grand jury was convened to investigate all aspects of the allegations against Dupre, including whether he tried to cover up the abuse and whether he had abused any other children.

Bennett said the investigation uncovered no evidence to suggest there were any other victims, nor was there evidence that any church officials were aware of the allegations until they became public earlier this year.

He also said that there was no evidence Dupre destroyed or concealed any evidence of sexual misconduct by other church officials.

Mark Dupont, a spokesman for the diocese, said Dupre's successor, Bishop Timothy McDonnell, would have no immediate comment on the indictments.

Dupre's current whereabouts were not immediately known.

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