A district attorney said Monday that he would not prosecute Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Dupre on child rape charges because the statute of limitations has expired in the case.
In an indictment unsealed Monday, Dupre was charged with molesting two boys in the 1970s, becoming the first Roman Catholic prelate to face criminal charges in the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the American church.
But Hampden District Attorney William Bennett told reporters later in the day that he would not prosecute the case because of the statute of limitations, which was six years at the time of the alleged crimes.
Dupre, 70, cited health reasons when he resigned in February after nine years as head of the Springfield Diocese. But his departure came one day after The Republican newspaper of Springfield confronted him with allegations he abused two boys while he was a parish priest.
The indictment was handed up by a grand jury Friday.