A man wanted for sexually preying on kids in both Minnesota and Ireland will keep walking the streets of London as a free man now that the United Kingdom's Supreme Court has blocked the United State's bid to extradite him.
Prosecutors in Hennepin and Dakota counties leveled four felony sexual assault charges against 43-year-old Shawn Sullivan, but the court across the pond says they will only allow Sullivan to be extradited and face those charges if prosecutors agree that they won't have him civilly committed if he is found guilty.
The court overseas takes issue with the fact that there is no definite timetable to release sexual offenders who are committed. In fact, only one has been released from the treatment program -- and it's been around for decades.
For now, prosecutors say they have no plans to get Sullivan committed -- but they also say it's not up to the British high court to decide how the system works here in Minnesota.
"Our Supreme Court has ruled our civil commitment process to be constitutional -- and it affords the state the authority to seek to civilly committed people who we believe are dangerous predatory individuals suffering from mental health reasons that need treatment," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. "We are not willing to waive our ability to do that."
Sullivan is accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and molesting two 11-year-olds in the early 90s. In 1994, he became a fugitive and left the country in the face of criminal prosecution.
In Ireland, Sullivan began using the Irish translation of his name. He even married a woman and was granted a passport there -- but not before he was convicted of sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls. His sentence in that country was suspended -- and the then moved to London, where authorities caught up with him nearly two years ago.
Since Sullivan was tracked to London, the U.S. Justice Department has been fighting to get him back to face the charges filed in Minnesota.
"He hasn't paid the price -- but he can't come back here," said Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman. "Unfortunately, the courts left the young people of Britain exposed to this man."
The decision to block extradition ties the hands of prosecutors here; however, they still have international warrants out for Sullivan's arrest. That means that if he travels to another country and is arrested, the Justice Department could get another shot at extradition.
FOX 9 News spoke with Sullivan's attorney by phone, and he said Sullivan said he is not guilty. When asked whether Sullivan plans to come back to the United States to face the charges, the attorney said it is unlikely he would do so.