Abuse case against priest will be dropped

May 1, 2012 at 2:23 PM
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CHICAGO, May 1 (UPI) -- A 10-year effort to extradite a priest who fled from Chicago to India before he could be charged with sexual abuse crimes will be abandoned, prosecutors said.

The alleged victim, who was 16 at the time, informed First Assistant State's Attorney Shauna Boliker she no longer wanted to pursue the case, involving 20 counts of criminal sexual assault and abuse against since-defrocked priest Sleeva Raju Policetti, who left the United States in 2002, effectively forcing prosecutors to drop it, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"Our victims' wishes, No. 1, are foremost in our minds. We need her cooperation and participation. This is a decade later and a different time in her life," Boliker said.

Boliker added her office will notify the U.S. Justice Department it is withdrawing arrest warrants in Chicago and India against Policetti.

The alleged assaults took place over the course of a year at St. Tarcissus Parish on Chicago's Northwest Side, where Policetti was assigned as an extern priest. The archdiocese reached an out-of-court settlement with the alleged victim, the Chicago Tribune said Tuesday, but did not specify a date or dollar amount.

"The Archdiocese of Chicago has supported and cooperated with efforts by the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County state's attorneys to bring this case to justice," John O'Malley, archdiocese legal services director said.

Although he was defrocked by the Vatican in 2008 in a "canonical trial," a rare and severe step stripping him of his status as a priest, Policetti continued to use the title "Reverend" in India, and as recently as 2010 sent Christmas cards to Chicago parishioners requesting donations for an orphanage and school he operates in India, the newspaper reported.

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