Massachusetts authorities have convened a grand jury to consider criminal charges against Bishop Thomas L. Dupre, who resigned Feb. 11 as head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield after being accused of sexually abusing two boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
If indicted, the 70-year-old Dupre would become the first American bishop to face criminal charges for sexual abuse, reports the Boston Globe.
A prosecutor said the statute of limitations on the alleged abuse in Massachusetts has probably expired, but that it might be extended because Dupre took steps to keep the sexual abuse secret as recently as last year.
Dupre could also face abuse charges in Canada and New Hampshire, where the alleged victims say Dupre abused them while on camping trips and where the statute of limitations would have been suspended once Dupre left the jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that about a dozen priests across the country have filed lawsuits against sex-abuse accusers. Some see it as a strategy to silence those making allegations.