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Charges Dropped Against Top Officials in Boston's Catholic Archdiocese - 2003-07-21


Authorities in the northeastern U.S. state of Massachusetts said they will not file criminal charges against top officials in Boston's Roman Catholic Archdiocese who have been implicated in a child-sexual abuse scandal.

A spokesman for State Attorney General Thomas Reilly said a report will be issued this week detailing a 16-month criminal investigation of the Archdiocese. Its top leaders have been accused of failing to stop sexually abusive priests from working with children.

The report, based in part on an investigation by the state grand jury, documents the incidents of abuse and suggests changes to protect children.

An attorney for more than 100 alleged abuse victims told the Associated Press he was disappointed that no criminal charges will be filed.

The lawyer said that "given the number of tragedies that have occurred by these sexual molestations", many of his clients were hoping that church leaders and individuals would be held responsible.

Mr. Reilly said recently it would be difficult to press criminal charges against the church because of weak child protection laws in Massachusetts. State legislators passed a child endangerment law last year, but the statute cannot be applied retroactively.