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Ex-Priest Indicted in Abuse Cases

Courts: Paul Shanley faces multiple counts of child rape and assault in the Boston area.

June 21, 2002|From Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A central figure in the sex abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese was indicted Thursday on multiple counts of child rape and indecent assault for allegedly abusing four boys.

The allegations against retired Roman Catholic priest Paul Shanley span from 1979 to 1989, when he was at St. Jean's parish in Newton, a suburb of Boston. The indictment, the first against Shanley, includes 10 counts of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery.

"In an ideal world, we would not have sexual abuse of children," prosecutor Martha Coakley said.

Shanley's attorney, Frank Mondano, said the indictments came as no surprise. He had not seen them as of Thursday evening, but said his client would fight the charges.

Prosecutors said Shanley would take one of the boys, who is now 24, out of classes and abuse him in the rectory, the bathroom of the church and a confessional.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish, who represents the alleged victims, said three of them were in the same catechism class at St. Jean's. The fourth doesn't know the others, he said. "Were it not for the statute of limitations in Massachusetts for child rape, there would be many, many more prosecutions," MacLeish said.

Shanley, 71, has been jailed since May when he was arrested and returned from California to face three counts of child rape, which were included in Thursday's indictment. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges and was being held on $300,000 bail.

"These latest revelations will undoubtedly open up the deep and painful wounds of those who have been abused in the past," Cardinal Bernard Law said in a statement.

He added: "My sorrow is compounded whenever such acts involve the betrayal of trust by a priest. For this I apologize from the bottom of my heart."

Shanley became a key figure in the scandal earlier this year when the archdiocese released personnel files indicating that church officials had received complaints about Shanley dating to 1967.

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