The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


US attorney says he won't rush decision on church abuse case

By John Ellement, Globe Staff, 8/27/2003

US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said yesterday that he will take whatever time is needed to review evidence in clergy sexual abuse cases before deciding whether there is a legal basis for prosecuting priests or the Archdiocese of Boston in the federal criminal justice system.

"We have made no decision," Sullivan said in a telephone interview. He said that one threshold question that must be answered is whether the actions of individual priests and church leaders' decisions to move pedophile priests from parish to parish was a violation of federal criminal law.

Last month, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly ended a state grand jury investigation without bringing criminal charges, although he harshly criticized the leadership of the Boston archdiocese. Some victims and their attorneys turned to Sullivan after Reilly's decision was made public.

"We're not going to set any particular deadline date for us to make a decision," Sullivan added. "I'm hopeful it's going to take us much less than a year's time."

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