Prosecutors have a lot of discretion on whether to charge a defendant and which offenses they wish to pursue. Here are some of the most important factors to a prosecutor:My guess is that whatever Bowman paid his attorney, it was worth it. The DA might have decided Bowman wasn’t a big enough fish to go after, he was near retirement age, he was a priest who was sorry for what he’d done, or any other mitigating circumstance. Not filing charges would keep a 62-year-old man from prison as well as becoming a registered sex offender and a complete social pariah. However, this left open the question of whether he should be in parish or school work. A priest must be held to the highest standard, not whether it's worth a trial in such-and-such a case.
- Political Aspirations: prosecutors often run for office or seek political appointments. As a result, they are keenly aware of the image prosecuting a particular offense sends the community. Even if the evidence is questionable, if there is considerable community outrage, a prosecutor may decide to pursue a case. Alternatively, certain crimes will almost always be prosecuted, because not prosecuting them sends a bad message (e.g., DUIs).
- Office Policies: prosecution offices often have policies regarding which crimes they want to prosecute. There may be a push to prosecute a certain kind of crime or a policy to not prosecute other crimes that the office considers less important.
- Prosecutor's Notion of Justice: prosecutors are people, and just like everyone else have beliefs and ideas about right and wrong. On one hand, it may lead a prosecutor to pursue a case more aggressively than may be warranted by the facts. On the other hand, it may lead to a prosecutor filing lesser charges or choosing not to pursue a case where the prosecutor thinks justice will still be served even though no one is charged with a crime.
It would not surprise me if Bowman's attorney argued that REC disciplinary procedures would keep Bowman from parish work, or that he'd been fired from both the parish and the school, and news of the arrest would keep anyone else from hiring him in school or parish jobs. However, dioceses have just as much discretion on whether to bring canonical charges against a priest. So far, I have no evidence that any canonical charges were brought against Bowman in the REC or the ACNA. The ACNA has so far made no answer to my inquiry.
It may be that nobody could quite decide within the merged ACNA/REC whose job it would be to bring charges, and they didn't need the publicity -- one "selling point" for dissident Anglicans is that they somehow aren't subject to the same failings as the small percentage of Catholic priests who are accused of such things. This of course is incorrect. A bigger problem for dissident Anglicans is the ease with which they can hop jurisdictions -- if the REC figured there'd be a general understanding that Bowman shouldn't go back to parish work, this simply didn't apply to the ACA, which has clearly licensed him to preach and administer the sacraments there, whether they know of his problem in the REC or not.
Indeed, I've been told that the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin didn't bring charges against Anthony Morello for the scandal he caused in Modesto for a similar reason -- they figured his age and poor health would keep him from going back into parish work, so why go to the bother? Morello then hopped jurisdictions and continued to cause trouble in the ACA. But for any one denomination to inhibit or depose a priest (or more likely, just to ease him out) isn't going to keep another from putting him into parish work if it's determined to do so, which seems to be the case with the ACA and Robert Bowman.