Springfield, Ill., Sep 26, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Bishop Emeritus of Springfield, Msgr. Thomas Dupre, has been indicted on charges of child rape. The indictment was announced this morning by the county prosecutor. Msgr. Dupre is accused of molesting two boys during the 1970’s, which makes him the first American Roman Catholic prelate indicted specifically on the charge of child sexual abuse.
Msgr. Dupre was Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield for nine years until February 11 this year when he resigned – citing health reasons - the day after he was questioned by The Republican newspaper of Springfield concerning allegations of child abuse during his years as a parish priest.
After his resignation he went to seek treatment in St. Luke Institute a Catholic psychiatric hospital in Maryland which has treated priests accused of sexual abuse.
According to a story written today by Adam Gorlick of the Associated Press, Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett has said that charges were possible even though the statute of limitations on the alleged abuse had probably expired because Dupre had allegedly recently attempted to conceal the abuse.