US most wanted paedophile, who attacked two girls in Ireland, is spared extradition
ONE of America’s most wanted paedophiles has been spared extradition from Britain by the High Court in London on human rights grounds.
Shawn Sullivan faced spending the rest of his life behind bars under a controversial sex offenders’ programme in the US, but two senior judges said this would amount to a “flagrant denial” of his rights.
As a result the 43 year-old will not be put on trial for abusing three young girls almost 20 years ago, and can live freely in London.
Sullivan, who has a previous conviction for assaulting two girls in Ireland and was on an Interpol most-wanted list, is now the 10th person in recent years to see their extradition to the US blocked by the UK.
Despite this, campaigners insist the treaty is “lop-sided” in favour of America, and attempts are still being made to block the extradition of alleged computer hacker Gary McKinnon and Richard O’Dwyer, accused of running a website that linked to pirated films.
A spokesman for the US Embassy said: “We strongly disagree with the decision of the court that he should not be extradited to face trial in the U.S.
“Civil commitment is not a penal or criminal sanction; it is rather a means by which the State can protect the community from dangerous behaviour that the committed individual is unable to control.”
Sullivan, originally from Fort Benning, Georgia, was accused of raping a 14 year-old girl and sexually molesting two 11 year-olds in Minnesota between 1993 and 1994.
He fled the US as charges were filed against him and moved to Ireland, where in 1997 he was given a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting two 12 year-old girls.
Sullivan came to London on an Irish passport, using the Gaelic spelling of his name, and was arrested in Barnes, south-west London, in June 2010, where he was living with MoJ policy manager Sarah Smith. The couple married in Wandsworth Prison when he was held on remand, before he was released on bail with an electronic tag.
Initially a judge agreed to his extradition and the Home Office dismissed his appeal.
But Sullivan took his case to the High Court earlier this year, with his lawyers claiming that if he were convicted in the US, he faced being put under a “civil commitment” order at the end of his jail term that effectively meant he would be deemed “sexually dangerous” and never released.
The court was told that no one had ever been released from the treatment programme in Minnesota since it was set up in 1988.