Child pornography charges against a former Evergreen Catholic priest have been dropped with a deferred prosecution agreement approved by Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan.
The Rev. Rudy Bullman was charged last Feb. 29 with felony sexual abuse of children after a handheld game console he reportedly sold was found to have photographs of nude boys on it.
But the charge was dismissed on Wednesday, Jan. 2, with the deferred prosecution agreement that requires Bullman to live up to a series of conditions for the next three years.
“The circumstances of the offense as alleged against the Defendant herein justify this agreement, and it appears that the execution and implementation of this agreement is more beneficial to society and to the Defendant over the long term than continued prosecution of this matter,” the agreement states.
Bullman was a priest at Risen Christ Parish in Evergreen for about 10 years before he was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Helena in December 2011.
The agreement requires Bullman to participate in counseling, to continue meeting with a spiritual support group, to have his computer checked for pornography every six months, to be screened for the use of antidepressants, and to not be in a position of authority over any person under the age of 18, all for three years.
If Bullman meets those conditions, “prosecution of the charge will not be resumed,” the agreement states.
Corrigan could not be reached for comment Monday. A spokesperson for the Helena Diocese also could not be reached to comment on Bullman’s current status with the church.
The case unfolded in the fall of 2011 after the buyer of the game system reported the photos to the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives allegedly found images of boys between the ages of 12 and 18 after a subsequent search of Bullman’s personal computer.
Bullman, who is in his mid-60s, was ordained in 2000 and served as a parochial vicar for about a year in Helena. He was assigned to Risen Christ Parish in July 2001.