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Catholic bishop indicted on rape charges
Accused of abusing boys, he led Springfield, Mass., churchThe Associated Press
Updated: 11:56 a.m. ET Sept. 27, 2004SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Bishop Thomas Dupre, the former head of the Springfield Diocese, was indicted Monday on child rape charges, accused of molesting two boys in the 1970s, the county prosecutor said.


He becomes the first Roman Catholic prelate indicted in the sex abuse scandal within the American church.

Dupre, 70, resigned Feb. 11 after nine years as head of the diocese, one day after The Republican newspaper of Springfield confronted him with allegations he abused two boys while he was a parish priest. Dupre cited health reasons for his departure. He retains the title of bishop.

The indictment was announced by Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett.

Dupre’s lawyer, Michael Jennings, did not immediately return a call for comment.

There have been at least a dozen grand jury investigations involving how bishops dealt with abuse claims, and four U.S. bishops have resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct.

Dupre’s alleged victims, who also are suing the cleric and the diocese, have said Dupre sexually abused them for years and asked them to keep quiet about the abuse when he was made auxiliary bishop in 1990. He became bishop in 1995.

When he announced he was bringing the case to a grand jury, Bennett initially said the statute of limitations on the alleged abuse had likely expired. But Bennett later said charges were possible because Dupre allegedly tried to conceal the abuse recently.

After his retirement, Dupre went to St. Luke Institute, a private Catholic psychiatric hospital in Maryland where the Boston Archdiocese sent many priests for treatment after sexual abuse allegations were made against them. The institute treats priests with emotional, behavioral and psychological problems.

Dupre’s whereabouts Monday were not immediately known.

One of the men, who immigrated to America in 1975, said the abuse began when he was 12 after his family was befriended by Dupre. The man claimed the abuse lasted until he began dating a girl in high school.

Dupre allegedly took him on out-of-state trips and to Canada, and bought pornography with the boy in Connecticut. Dupre is then accused of starting to abuse the other boy. The second victim says he was abused until he was about 20.
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