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Norfolk prosecutors decide not to prosecute former Foxborough teacher in sexual abuse cases

Posted by Your Town  September 13, 2013 08:24 PM

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Norfolk prosecutors this week notified some two dozen alleged victims of accused sexual predator William E. Sheehan to tell them the former Foxborough teacher and Boy Scout leader will not be prosecuted because his advanced dementia makes him unable to stand trial.

The decision, after a psychological examination commissioned by prosecutors, brings an end to the state’s criminal investigation of a set of allegations that date back three decades.

Sheehan, 74, is now confined in a Florida nursing home. Under the law, defendants must be able to meaningfully participate in their own cases.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey called Sheehan’s alleged crimes “predatory and disturbing” and their scope “shocking.” In a statement Friday, he praised the alleged victims who came forward to report their stories.

“We are grateful for their courage,’’ Morrissey said. “Speaking out today, even decades later, will hopefully make it safer for other victims to step forward, and maybe even help prevent such a terrible thing from happening to other children.”

After receiving the psychological report, prosecutors in Morrissey’s office spent the week delivering the disappointing news in personal phone calls to the men, who have been waiting for a year for a decision.

“I feel badly victims have no sense of justice,’’ Foxborough Police Chief Ed O’Leary, adding there are no more current leads to follow.

Foxborough was rocked in September 2012 when O’Leary announced that eight men reported that Sheehan repeatedly fondled, sexually abused, and raped them over a period of almost 20 years when they were children.

Incidents occurred at his home, on school property, and at the former Cocasset River Park, among other locations, according to the men, who range in age from mid-40s to 59. Eventually, the number of suspected victims rose to 22 men.

Go to Boston.com/Foxborough for more Your Town coverage of Foxborough. For a fuller version of this article, subscribers can go to BostonGlobe.com.

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