UK won’t extradite man accused of rape to Minn.

Published 9:25 am Friday, June 29, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS — As prosecutors in Minnesota began preparing to file charges against a man accused of molesting two girls and raping a third in the 1990s, the suspect fled the United States, eventually winding up in London, where authorities caught up to him two years ago.

Minnesota prosecutors’ efforts to bring Shawn Sullivan back to face trial for his alleged crimes were thwarted Thursday when Britain’s High Court dropped extradition proceedings, saying the U.S. hadn’t guaranteed Sullivan would be kept out of a civil commitment program seen by some as draconian.

Judges Alan Moses and David Eady said in a ruling finalized Thursday that if Sullivan, 43, were returned to the U.S., he could face a real risk of being placed in the state’s civil commitment program and would suffer “a flagrant denial of his rights.”

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One of Sullivan’s accusers called the decision “a slap in the face.”

“That whole argument is just irrational,” said Jessica Schaefer, 29. Sullivan allegedly molested her and her cousin when they were both 11. “It’s just another loophole in the justice system that caters to the criminals. All they have to do is find a loophole or a technicality and they walk. … “I feel like I’m just pleading for justice, and I’m not getting anywhere.”