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April 1–9, 2002


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Dozens more allege abuse by late priest

By Sacha Pfeiffer
Boston (MA) Globe
April 4, 2002

In the last week alone, more than two dozen alleged victims of the late Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham have come forward, some with accounts of how they fruitlessly complained about his compulsive molestation of children during the first of six parish assignments Birmingham had in 29 years as a priest.

The number of Birmingham victims is so large - as many as 25 alone from his third assignment in Lowell in the 1970s - that his profile is similar to former priest John J. Geoghan, who was rotated through six parishes of his own, where he allegedly accumulated close to 200 victims even though high church officials knew he was molesting children.

But in the case of Birmingham, who was ordained in 1960 and died in 1989, the public evidence that the church stood by and did nothing to stop him early in his career appears to be even stronger: Separate groups of parents from Birmingham's first two parish assignments said they went to the Archdiocese of Boston with accounts of his serial abuse - to no avail.

Howard McCabe, a Sudbury parent who met with archdiocese officials in the early 1960s after Birmingham allegedly molested his son, said he was stunned to learn that the priest's only penalty was to be sent to a parish in Salem.

"I'm telling you, it was devastating," McCabe, who is now 79, said in an interview. "I was so disgusted."

Last month, the Globe reported that Mary McGee and several other mothers from St. James in Salem - unaware that Sudbury parents had preceded them - also took their complaints to the chancery in 1970, just after Birmingham had been shifted to his third parish, in Lowell.

That the Boston Archdiocese would have shuffled around another priest with so many alleged victims is not a surprise to A.W. Richard Sipe, a former priest and a psychotherapist who has long specialized in treating priests who abuse children.

Serial molesters such as Geoghan, Sipe said, "are not as much of an anomaly as people would like to think." Such priests, he said, are "extreme examples, in a way, because they're the ones who have gotten the notoriety. But there are many priests who have just never been reported."

After Birmingham was transferred to Lowell, he was brought into police headquarters in neighboring Chelmsford for questioning in a rape case. He was let go, but not before admitting he had molested children in the past, according to retired Chelmsford police chief Raymond P. McKeon.

At the time, Birmingham insisted he was "cured," McKeon recalled. The former chief said Birmingham told him he had never been treated for abusing children and said his pastor at St. Michael's in Lowell had not been told about his history of abuse.

Today, Robert A. Sherman, a Boston lawyer who filed a lawsuit last month against the Boston archdiocese and Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H. - who allegedly saw Birmingham taking a young boy to his rectory bedroom in the 1960s and did nothing to stop it - is expected to amend the suit to add a dozen new victims.

In addition to those 12, the Globe has been contacted by eight alleged victims of Birmingham, two additional men who said Birmingham unsuccessfully attempted to molest them, and several others who said they were aware Birmingham had molested children but were not victims themselves.

Olan Horne, who said Birmingham molested him at St. Michael's parish in Lowell, said in an interview that he has made contact with 25 other victims in Lowell alone.

In response to Globe inquiries, McCormack, who was assigned to the same Salem parish as Birmingham in the 1960s, denied that he ever saw Birmingham bringing boys into his rectory bedroom. But he acknowledged that in 1970 or thereabouts he was warned that Birmingham was molesting children at St. James in Salem.

Yet there is evidence that church officials also knew of Birmingham's abusive behavior in the early 1960s, and that Birmingham began preying on young boys soon after he left the seminary. But the archdiocese apparently did nothing to restrict his access to children.

McCabe, the Sudbury father, said he and another parent, accompanied by their pastor, met with church officials at archdiocesan headquarters in Brighton about 1963 to report Birmingham's alleged molestation of their sons at Our Lady of Fatima parish in Sudbury.

Church officials responded by saying that Birmingham would be removed from parish work and receive psychiatric treatment, McCabe said. And soon thereafter, he left Sudbury. Yet within a year of that meeting, McCabe said, his son saw Birmingham skiing in New Hampshire with a group of young boys.

Indeed, Birmingham went on to serve in five more parishes, including churches in Brighton, Gloucester, and Lexington, and the consequences of his repeated transfers appear to have been disastrous: The Globe and several lawyers have been contacted by alleged victims from five of his six assignments. For his Gloucester assignment, he was promoted to pastor.

The only parish where Birmingham, so far, is not alleged to have sexually abused young boys is St. Brigid in Lexington, his final assignment before his death.

The Globe reported last month that after Cardinal Bernard F. Law concelebrated Birmingham's 1989 funeral Mass, Thomas Blanchette, one of the priest's alleged Sudbury victims, approached Law and informed him of the abuse. Blanchette said Law invoked the power of the confessional and admonished him to keep the abuse a secret.

Through a spokeswoman, Law has said he remembers meeting Blanchette, but said he does not recall the conversation.

McCabe's son, Michael McCabe, who is now 51 and lives in Manchester-by-the-Sea, said he lost track of the number of times he was molested by Birmingham at the Sudbury parish in the early 1960s. The abuse started shortly after he began his training as an altar boy, he said, and usually took place in the sacristy, just off the altar.

"He'd come up behind you, rub your shoulders, make you calm, and then slip his hand beneath your underwear," McCabe said. Because of his age and naivete, said McCabe, `it didn't seem wrong, and that's what's so weird about it."

He innocently alerted his parents to the abuse when his father sat him down to explain sex and sexuality, a lecture that included a discussion about homosexuality, McCabe said.

"He told me how some boys touch other boys, and I said, `That's what Father Birmingham does to me,' " McCabe recalled. "My father went crazy. But, like a typical parent, at first he thought I was lying."

Here is how Howard McCabe, who now lives in Jupiter, Fla., recalls it: "I was giving him my lecture on the birds and the bees, and when I got through I said, `If you've got any questions, just ask me.' Finally he said, `Jeez, Dad, Father Birmingham played with my penis.' And I said, `You've got to be kidding.' I couldn't believe what he said, and I didn't know how to handle it."

Initially, McCabe said, he took the advice of a neighbor who suggested he keep the information secret. But when the father of one of his son's friends told him that his son, too, had been molested by Birmingham, the two men met with a monsignor in Brighton - with Birmingham present. He said he could not recall the name of the monsignor.

In front of them, he said, Birmingham denied the allegations.

"I remember that it was a very intimidating setting, with red carpets and a big mahogany table . . . and it was wicked embarrassing for a kid to have to tell this story in public," said Michael McCabe. "I couldn't believe they were making us do that, making us say this in front of him and making us look like liars. When we left I said to my dad, `I told the truth, dad. I really did.' "

The elder McCabe said he was later told by his Sudbury pastor that Birmingham would be made chaplain of Salem Hospital, where he would receive psychiatric treatment. McCabe said he was pleased with the church's handling of the situation - until his son sighted Birmingham skiing with a group of young boys about a year later.

"At that point we lost all trust in the church," Michael McCabe said. "It's very disheartening for the church to say it's going to do something, and then not do it."

Added Howard McCabe: "Because of all this, I've become an atheist. I just don't believe in anything."

According to the archdiocese's annual directories, Birmingham was shifted from the Sudbury parish to the Salem parish, without any hospital assignment.

Nothing much changed after Birmingham was transferred to Lowell, according to two men who said he victimized them when they were boys.

David Lyko of Dracut, who is 42, said he was fondled by Birmingham about a dozen times in the early 1970s, when he was 9 or 10, always in the sacristy just off the altar at St. Michael's.

"I'd serve Mass and he'd keep me afterwards, and I thought it was pretty cool," Lyko said. "He'd come up behind me and cup my genitals." Lyko also said that Birmingham would ask him during confession if he masturbated.
Horne, who said he has talked openly for years about having been molested by Birmingham when he was 12 or 13 at St. Michael's in Lowell, said that since allegations against Birmingham became public last month, he has heard similar stories from others who have contacted him.

"It was the same m.o. with everybody," Horne said. "Father Birmingham would invite you to do chores or help at the youth drop-in center, and then he'd get you in his room and shut the door and start making straight-out advances. This guy was a piranha."



Cover-up charges made in alleged abuse case

By Eric Convey
Boston (MA) Herald
April 5, 2002

Men alleging abuse by the late-Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham and women who said they tried to stop it by warning high-level church officials 30 years ago fired fresh cover-up charges at top officials from the Archdiocese of Boston yesterday.

"I should have gone to the police right from the start and I didn't, because I had my trust and faith in the church," said Mary McGree. She was one of five women who said they met in 1970 with Monsignor John J. Jennings, the archdiocesan personnel director, to report abuse of boys by Birmingham.

Instead of getting results, they were only patronized, she said, with Jennings responding: "Ladies, you have to be very careful with slander."

"I knew this was a problem of monumental proportions," said Judy Fairbank, who joined the mothers but did not have a son abused by Birmingham. "I've been waiting for 32 years to sit here today."

Jennings, who is retired and lives in Framingham, did not return calls seeking comment.

A lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Robert Sherman of the firm Greenberg Traurig, said Birmingham may well have 100 victims or more. He served at parishes in Sudbury, Salem, Lowell and Dorchester.

The accusers also took shots at Bishop John B. McCormack of the Diocese of Manchester, N.H.

McCormack served alongside Birmingham at St. James parish in Salem in the late 1960s. He later ran Catholic Charities of the North Shore.

Jamie Hogan, who maintains he was abused for five years at the Salem church, said on "at least two or three" occasions when Birmingham took him to the second floor of the rectory, McCormack saw them.

And some of the women who visited with Jennings at the chancery said they also asked McCormack for help but got no action.

Through his spokesman, Patrick McGee, McCormack yesterday denied both allegations.

Regarding the claim McCormack saw the boy in the rectory with Birmingham, McGee said: "Their recollections differ. Bishop McCormack never saw Mr. Hogan, who would have been a young man at the time, going into Father Birmingham's room." Nor does the bishop recall any "suspicious behavior," McGee added.

McCormack acknowledged meeting with parents about Birmingham, who by then had moved to a Lowell church. But rather than brushing off the charges, McCormack contacted Birmingham's new boss, McGree said.

Also yesterday, an alleged Birmingham victim said he told Bernard Cardinal Law about widespread molestation by the priest after his 1989 funeral, only to be told by Law to stay silent on the matter under the "seal of confession."
"I told him there were many men in the diocese who would be in need of counseling," said Thomas Blanchette.

Law's spokeswoman, Donna Morrissey, said he has a "vague recollection of such an encounter, but no memory of the words exchanged."

But he never would have counseled anyone to remain silent about abuse, she said. "That would fly in the face of his pastoral (approach)."

Birmingham accuser Bob Abraham said, "I was not an altar boy. I never realized how lucky I was not to be one."



Law is new defendent in clergy abuse suit

By Matt Carroll
Boston (MA) Globe
April 5, 2002

Cardinal Bernard F. Law and a retired monsignor were added as defendants yesterday to a lawsuit that now includes 14 alleged victims of the late Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham, with the two officials accused of allowing Birmingham to continue serving in parishes despite knowledge of his sexual abuse.

Thomas Blanchette, one of the alleged victims, also said that he approached Law at Birmingham's funeral in 1989 and said there were many young men who needed counseling because of the abuse Birmingham inflicted on them, according to the lawsuit.

According to Blanchette, Law's response was: "We don't want to destroy the reputation of this fine man's ministry."

Birmingham, who was ordained in 1960, allegedly molested so many children that he has been compared to former priest John J. Geoghan, who allegedly abused nearly 200 children. The Globe reported yesterday that more than two dozen victims of Birmingham have come forward in recent weeks.

As in Geoghan's case, angry parents complained that Birmingham had molested their children. But the Globe has reported that complaints to the chancery lodged by parents from the first two parishes where Birmingham served, in Sudbury and Salem, had little effect: The archdiocese simply moved him from one parish to another.

The suit, filed last month on behalf of James M. Hogan of Wilmington, Del., and amended yesterday to add 13 more victims, also names Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., as a defendant. McCormack, a seminary classmate of the dead priest who served with him in Salem, allegedly saw Birmingham taking a young boy to his room in the 1960s and did nothing to stop it. McCormack has denied the accusation, but admitted he was told about Birmingham's abuse of children.

Robert A. Sherman, the attorney who filed the suit, said an additional 17 victims of Birmingham have contacted his office.

The name of retired Monsignor John J. Jennings also was added to the suit in Suffolk Superior Court for allegedly ignoring the complaints of five women from St. James parish in Salem who asked in 1970 that Birmingham's new pastor in Lowell be told he was an abuser and that Birmingham be kept away from children.

Jennings categorically rejected their demands and suggested the women were slandering Birmingham, according to the suit.



Archdiocese knew priest was a rapist

By Tom Mashberg and Robin Washington
Boston (MA) Herald
April 9, 2002

Damning internal church documents on the Rev. Paul R. Shanley make clear that the Archdiocese of Boston knew the priest was a child rapist yet devoted large sums of money and decades of personnel resources to cover up his crimes.

The documents also show that Shanley spoke in favor of sex between men and boys at a formative 1978 meeting in Boston of the "Man Boy Lovers of North America," a precursor of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, or NAMBLA.

Shanley, now 71, was last known to be living in San Diego and working as a volunteer police officer, but is believed to have fled the city as word of his sordid sexual history became public.

Released yesterday during a dramatic 2 1-2-hour presentation on live television, the records also include one unannounced bombshell:

Shanley stated in a Sept. 25, 1995, letter to one of his clerical supervisors, Rev. Brian Flatley, that he was himself "sexually abused as a teenager and later as a seminarian" by a priest and by the "predecessor to one of the two cardinals who now debate my fate."

He did not identify the cleric who allegedly abused him, but the cardinals he was referring to as debating his future were Bernard Cardinal Law and John Cardinal O'Connor.

The documents also reveal:

- Shanley admitted openly to raping and sodomizing minors when confronted by church investigators under Boston's two past archbishops, Humberto Cardinal Medeiros and Law.

Despite deep concerns about his proclivities expressed by therapists and others, he received positive referrals from Law to ministries in San Bernadino, Calif., and in New York City, where he spent the years from 1990 to 1997.

In handwritten reports from physicians who treated Shanley, the doctors told the church Shanley "admits to substance of complaints - sexual activity with 4 adolescent males . . . over the years," according to a memo dated March 3, 1994. The memo also describes "oral and anal rape" with a youth who visited Shanley for pastoral counseling in Roxbury.

A similar memo, dated Nov. 5, 1983, also says Shanley "doesn't dispute the substance" of those or other allegations of child rape.

Catholic leaders in California, where Shanley served in the early 1990s, said they received no warning that Shanley had admnitted to sexual misconduct, and the documents indicate Shanley was involved in youth activities there.

At Leo House, a home for transients in Manhattan, Shanley was almost named executive director in 1997 - a move that was forestalled by John Cardinal O'Connor over fear that Shanley's past would surface and lead to bad "notoriety" for the Archdiocese of New York.

- Shanley defended "man-boy sex" publicly in his role as a "street priest" and minister to "sexual minorities" as early as 1970. He openly associated with members of a pro-pederasty group founded in Boston that became known as NAMBLA in the 1980s.

At the December 1978 convention that led to the founding of the pre-NAMBLA group, Shanley publicly told the story of a boy who "began to fall apart" and experience "psychic demise" after his adult male sex partner was jailed for having sex with the youth.

"We have our convictions upside down if we are truly concerned with boys," Shanley said at the time, the files indicate. "The 'cure' does far more damage."

The "man-boy" conference and Shanley's quotations were reported in GaysWeek in February 1979 under the headline "Men & Boys: The Boston Conference." Medeiros received a letter from attorney Paul McGeady of New York City, complaining about the quotes and including the newspaper, on April 2 of that year.

Also present at the conference was one of the co-founders of NAMBLA, who goes by the pseudonym Socrates. The Herald reported Sunday that at least one Shanley accuser says he was introduced to the priest in the mid-1970s by Socrates, and that Shanley often quoted from NAMBLA-style literature while enticing boys to have sex with him.

Two years before the 1979 warning letter from McGeady, in 1977, Medeiros was also alerted by Jeanne Sweeney of Rochester, N.Y., to a speech by Shanley in which he said "the kid is the seducer" in sexual encounters between adults and children, and in which the priest purportedly endorsed bestiality.

On April 12, 1979, after reviewing the GaysWeek article, the cardinal told Shanley he was being transferred to St. Jean's-St. John's Parish in Newton, where many plaintiffs allege he raped them, including Gregory Ford, 24, of Newton. Ford is currently pursuing criminal charges against Shanley, and it was his civil suit that forced the disclosure of the documents presented yesterday by MacLeish.

- In November 1978, Shanley's activities as a prominent street priest who lectured openly about homosexuality and sex with minors caught the attention of the Vatican. In response to a letter from Rome, Medeiros wrote in February 1979, "I believe that Father Shanley is a troubled priest."

Yet just two months after that assessment, the cardinal assigned him to the Newton parish, where he was to spend the next 11 years. During that time, the files show, numerous parishioners - among them Jacqueline Gauvreau of Newton - alerted church officials that the priest was involved in sexual activity with minors.

In response to Gauvreau's repeated efforts to alert the church to Shanley, both in person and by phone, Monsignor Frederick J. Ryan - then the vice chancellor of the archdiocese and himself a longtime friend of Shanley who is also accused of sex abuse with minors - directed his staff to "let her stay hanging on the phone."

Referencing that citation, MacLeish said: "If they had picked up the phone (then), Greg Ford would not have been sodomized."

- The documents show that by the early 1990s Shanley was becoming aware his past was catching up with him. In 1991, when Shanley was on paid sick leave from the Boston Archdiocese, but working as a fill-in priest at St. Anne's Parish in San Bernadino, and complained to Rev. John B. McCormack about a suggestion he curtail his activities - which included running youth retreats.

"I have done nothing wrong," he wrote to McCormack, who is currently the embattled bishop of Manchester, N.H., and who features prominently in the Shanley papers, along with Rev. Brian Flatley. Both men are also featured prominently in the documents released two months ago concerning defrocked priest and convicted molester John J. Geoghan.

McCormack was initially troubled by Shanley, the documents suggest. "It is clear to me that Paul Shanley is a sick person," he wrote, adding that he was worried about Shanley's "free-lancing in California" as a man of the cloth.

Despite those worries, and the ever-growing archive of troubling personnel files, Shanley found his way to Leo House in New York with the full knowledge of McCormack and Law. That assignment lasted until 1997, when Shanley was rejected for the post of director of the Catholic-run house despite Laws' written endorsement.

The files also show that by 1994, as complaints against Shanley's behavior began to pour in, Shanley and McCormack wrote to each other about creating a "safe house" for problem priests, and made other statements about the need for Shanley to possibly flee the country if legal troubles arose.

The documents indicate that Shanley and Ryan were close friends, and one note from Shanley to McCormack thanks McCormack for acting as a liaison between Ryan, who is accused of collecting pornographic photos of teens, and Shanley.

"Thank you for acting as go-between with Fred Ryan," Shanley writes. "Here's the latest batch."

- In 1997, Shanley, who had formally retired the year before, but despite his record has never been laicized by the church, asked Rev. William F. Murphy, Law's personnel delegate, to keep Shanley's whereabouts secret after one of his accusers began to pursue the priest, apparently for revenge.

Well aware of Shanley's reputation and dubious personal history, Murphy promised in a letter back to Shanley "that your location will remain confidential."

"I hope this new situation will afford you some renewed peace and security," Murphy wrote to Shanley in August 1997, after the priest had moved back to the San Diego area from New York. "This can be the beginning of a new chapter in your life, one in which you do not have to live under the cloud of (deleted)'s relentless harassment." Murphy also lifted official archdiocese restrictions on Shanley's contact with children.

Shanley was even encouraged by Murphy to use a post office box to receive his checks from Boston, and to leave the country if there appeared to be legal problems.

Despite his checkered past, Shanley, like Geoghan, received a valedictory notes of sorts from Law upon his retirement in 1997:

"For thirty years in assigned ministry you brought God's Word and His Love to His people and I know that that continues to be your goal despie some difficult limitations," Law wrote. "This is an impressive record and all of us are truly grateful for your priestly care and ministry to all whom you have served during those years."

MacLeish said the documents were disturbing not just for their sordid content but for the evidence they hold of the enormous financial support Shanley received over the years. "An outrageous pattern is evident here," he said. "Archdiocese officials at the highest level knew full well of Shanley's misconduct. There's no evidence they gave one whit of concern for the victims; rather they went to outstanding lengths to keep Shanley's past hidden."

The archdiocese, in a statement, said it "has learned from the painful experience of the inadequate polices and procedures of the past" but said church officials were confident that current policies "are focused in a singular way on the protection of children."

[Photo: Painful Past: Gregory Ford, left, of Newton and his mother, Paula, sit before a computer with an image of the man he says molested him - the Rev. Paul Shanley - at yesterday's news conference. Staff photo by Nancy Lane.]

[Photo: Evidence: Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. holds a stack of Archdiocese of Boston documents on accused pedophile priest Paul Shanley, shown at right in a projection image. Staff photo by Nancy Lane.]

[Photo: Supportive: Alleged abuse victims Greg Ford, left, and Arthur Austin embrace each other yesterday after Austin's emotional statements about accused pedophile priest Paul Shanley. Staff photo by Renee DeKona.]



Shanley's record long ignored
Files show Law, others backed priest

By Walter V. Robinson and Thomas Farragher
Boston (MA) Globe
April 9, 2002

http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories/040902_shanley_record.htm

For more than a decade, Cardinal Bernard F. Law and his deputies ignored allegations of sexual misconduct against Rev. Paul R. Shanley and reacted casually to complaints that Shanley endorsed sexual relations between men and boys, according to an avalanche of documents that were made public yesterday.

As recently as 1997 - after the Boston archdiocese had paid monetary settlements to several of Shanley's victims - Law did not object to Shanley's application to be director of a church-run New York City guest house frequented by student travelers.

Like a priest clad in a Teflon cassock, Shanley received an extraordinary tribute from Law when he retired in 1996, not two decades after Shanley asserted in public remarks that there was no psychic harm from engaging in taboo practices like incest or bestiality.

In the Feb. 29, 1996, letter, the cardinal declared, ''Without doubt over all of these years of generous and zealous care, the lives and hearts of many people have been touched by your sharing of the Lord's Spirit. You are truly appreciated for all that you have done.''

Yesterday, law enforcement officials were more skeptical. Kurt N. Schwartz, chief of the criminal division under Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, and three State Police detectives attended the 21/2-hour news conference at which the documents were unveiled by attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. He obtained them under a court order on behalf of Gregory Ford, a Newton man who allegedly was molested by Shanley between 1983 and 1989.

''We're taking a serious look at today's developments,'' said Ann Donlan, a spokeswoman for Reilly. She declined to elaborate, but said the presence of a senior member of Reilly's staff ''speaks for itself.''

Arthur Austin, another alleged victim of Shanley who attended the news conference, expressed bitterness and dismay at the church's longtime protection of Shanley, who is now 71. ''If the Catholic Church in America does not fit the definition of organized crime, then Americans seriously need to examine their concept of justice,'' Austin said.

The 800 pages of documents, in some major respects, are not unlike the church records, also forced into the open by court order, about former priest John J. Geoghan. In each case there was a priest known to have molested children, two cardinals and several bishops seemingly uninterested in complaints about him, and prelates who transferred him without alerting his new superiors that he was a danger to children.

In both cases, church lawyers waged legal battles to protect the documents from public release.

Geoghan is now serving a nine-to-10 year prison sentence. Shanley, because he left Massachusetts for California in 1990, is believed to be potentially vulnerable to criminal charges because the clock on the statute of limitations stopped running when he left the state.

Yesterday's documents on the sexual misbehavior of a second priest is likely to increase public suspicion that the archdiocese holds embarrassing files on others among the nearly 100 diocesan priests whose names have been turned over to prosecutors since January.

Donna M. Morrissey, the cardinal's spokeswoman, issued a statement last night declaring that the archdiocese ''has learned from the painful experience of the inadequate policies and procedures of the past.''

Her statement, which made no mention of the Shanley documents, said: ''Whatever may have occurred in the past, there were no deliberate decisions to put children at risk.''

But MacLeish, who said there are 26 known Shanley victims, called the documents astonishing for what they say about the depth of the archdiocese's knowledge of Shanley's sexual habits and for the disdain they show for his victims, many of them allegedly abused during the 1970s, when Shanley was a controversial ''street priest'' in Boston.

''This man was a monster in the Archdiocese of Boston for many, many years,'' MacLeish said. ''He had beliefs that no rational human being could defend.''

MacLeish, wearing a wireless microphone and narrating a computer-generated tour of some of the 818 documents handed over by the archdiocese, said warning signs about Shanley date back as early as 1967.

''All of the suffering that has taken place at the hands of Paul Shanley - a serial child molester for four decades, three of them in Boston - none of it had to happen,'' he said.

Before an audience of journalists, accusers' families, and parishioners from the Newton church Shanley served as curate and pastor from 1979 to 1990, MacLeish argued that Law, his predecessor, Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros, and their top aides were complicit in covering up the church's knowledge of a molester in their midst. Letter after letter was projected onto a large screen in a Boston hotel conference room, with warnings from people who recoiled at Shanley's casual attitude about sex between men and boys, or who reported that he had masturbated one boy and identified other possible victims with names, telephone numbers, and addresses.

In rebutting a 1967 complaint that he had molested three boys, a letter from Shanley to Monsignor Francis J. Sexton denied that he had touched any of the boys. ''... It is indeed a comforting prospect to realize that any allegations which might in the future be made against me involving women will be given far less credence than ordinary in the light of my presumed predilection for pederasty,'' Shanley wrote.

But when Shanley was finally sent for treatment in late 1993 to the Institute of Living in Hartford, after some of his victims pressed claims against the archdiocese, he admitted that he had molested boys and had also had sexual relationships with men and women.

The handwritten notes of Rev. William F. Murphy, an archdiocesan official, note that Shanley's treatment concluded that he had a personality disorder, was ''narcissistic'' and ''histrionic'' and ''admitted to substantial complaints.'' The record cited his admissions to nine sexual encounters, four involving boys.

Whether or not church officials believed Shanley's denials in the 1960s and 1970s, there was little doubt about his controversial stance on sexual practices.

In 1977, for instance, the archdiocese was alerted by an appalled Catholic that during a public address in Rochester, N.Y., Shanley asserted that the only harm that befalls children from having sexual relations with adults is from the trauma of societal condemnation of such acts.

''He stated that he can think of no sexual act that causes psychic damage - `not even incest or bestiality,''' according to a letter sent to Medeiros, who died in 1983.

Indeed, the records in Shanley's personnel files disclose that Medeiros wrote to the Vatican in February 1979 about Shanley's comments about sexual practices. In the letter, Medeiros called Shanley a ''troubled priest.''

Two months later, Medeiros was alerted by a New York City lawyer that Shanley had been quoted as making similar remarks in an interview about man-boy love with a publication called Gaysweek.

Within days, according to the church records, Medeiros removed Shanley from his street ministry, sending him to St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton, but with an admonition.

''It is understood that your ministry at Saint John Parish and elsewhere in this Archdiocese of Boston will be exercised in full conformity with the clear teachings of the Church as expressed in papal documents and other pronouncements of the Holy See, especially those regarding sexual ethics,'' Medeiros wrote in a letter to Shanley.

Six years later, Law promoted Shanley to pastor. And four months after Shanley became pastor in 1985, the archdiocese reacted nonchalantly when a woman alerted the Chancery that Shanley gave another talk in Rochester in which he once again endorsed sexual relations between men and boys.

In response, Rev. John B. McCormack - now the bishop of Manchester, N.H. - sent a friendly note to Shanley, a seminary classmate. In a letter signed, ''Fraternally in Christ,'' McCormack wrote: ''Would you care to comment on the remarks she made. You can either put them in writing or we could get together some day about it.''

There was no evidence in the files that Shanley responded in writing. Through a spokesman, McCormack yesterday refused to comment on the documents.

Three years later, in 1988, a man complained to the archdiocese that Shanley began a sexually explicit conversation with him. But despite the evidence in the Chancery's files about earlier accusations made against Shanley, Bishop Robert J. Banks, Law's top deputy, concluded in a memo that nothing could be done because Shanley denied that the incident occurred.

It was Banks, the Globe reported yesterday, who cleared the way in 1990 for Shanley to take an assignment in a California diocese with a letter asserting that Shanley had had no problems during his years in Boston.

Banks, who is now bishop of Green Bay, Wis., said in a brief statement from his spokesman: ''Obviously, I was not aware of any allegations against Father Shanley before I sent the letter.''

Yesterday, Austin, who says Shanley abused him from 1968 to 1974, evoked an audible gasp when he retold a conversation he said he had with Murphy, the archdiocesan official. Austin said the conversation drove him from the Roman Catholic Church and prompted his decision to get legal help.

''He called me about three months after I had come forward in November of 1998 and said to me: `Arthur, I'm going to have to be very careful about meeting with you.' I said, `Why is that, Bill?' And he said to me, `Because I've spoken to experts here at the Chancery who have told me that you are going to want from me what you wanted from Father Shanley.' ''

Murphy did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

MacLeish said Murphy's response to Austin illustrates a cavalier attitude the church used toward victims. Sometimes, he said, citing one document that appears to refer to a woman who accused Shanley of being a child molester, they put telephone complainers on hold, hoping they'd go away.

In December 1989, Shanley stepped down as pastor in Newton for reasons that are not clear from the documents. He was placed on sick leave and moved to California as a part-time priest at a parish in San Bernardino. During the three years he was there, the Globe reported yesterday, Shanley and another priest from the Boston Archdiocese, Rev. John J. White, were co-owners and operators of a Palm Springs motel that catered to gay clients.

It was during that period that McCormack, who visited with both men, corresponded warmly with Shanley over Shanley's regular complaints that the archdiocese was not giving him enough financial support. He accompanied one plea to McCormack with what appeared to be a warning that reporters were calling him and there might be a ''media whirlwind.''

In December 1990, Law himself wrote to Shanley, granting his request to extend his sick leave for a year. Extending his ''warm personal regards,'' Law said he was saddened to hear about Shanley's ''malaise.''

McCormack and Shanley also corresponded about a proposal, apparently by Shanley, to create a ''safehouse'' in Palm Springs where the Boston Archdiocese could send ''warehoused'' priests. When he heard no response, he wrote McCormack, ''I assume the hesitation is about me, not the concept.''

Shanley, however, moved to New York City in 1995, and took a job at Leo House, a guest house run by an order of nuns on West 23d street in Manhattan. Its guests included teenagers. A letter in the files by an unidentified archdiocesan official says that the job ''was a placement of his own finding'' and expresses concern that ''it would be hard to defend if any public disclosure was made about it; i.e., NYC, possible questionable supervision, transient guests, young people, not of our making, etc.''

Despite those concerns, Shanley remained at Leo House for nearly two more years, eventually as acting executive director. And had New York Cardinal John O'Connor not vetoed the proposal, Law was prepared to approve him becoming permanent director in 1997.

During Shanley's long-running effort to get that job, he wrote a letter of frustration to Rev. Brian M. Flatley, an aide to Law, saying he had ''abided by my promise'' not to tell anyone that he himself had been molested as a teenager, and when he was a seminarian, by a priest, a faculty member, a pastor, and an unidentified cardinal.

In June 1997, Law wrote a letter to O'Connor, citing ''some controversy'' in Shanley's past, but adding: ''If you decide to allow Father Shanley to accept this position, I would not object.'' But Flatley never sent the letter, after learning that O'Connor ruled out the promotion.

Not long after that, Shanley moved to San Diego.



Shanley case opens a new chapter in horror story

By Peter Gelzinis
Boston (MA) Herald
April 9, 2002

If Bernard Cardinal Law was sorry - heartily sorry - for John Geoghan's countless trespasses against children . . . what exactly does he say now?
That he's even sorrier for the sins of Paul Shanley?

After every legal attempt to stonewall the release of more archdiocesan dirty laundry failed . . . again, does Cardinal Law embark on a new round of mea culpas? Like John Geoghan redux?

"Geoghan was a horrific story," Jackie Gauvreau was saying late yesterday afternoon. "But this … this is a sadistic story. Malicious and sadistic."

Gauvreau sat beside her 87-year-old mother in a banquet room of the Sheraton Hotel yesterday, as the sins of Father Shanley were outlined before the world. At one point, when Arthur Austin rose from the audience to say he was merely one among "hundreds" of young boys molested by Paul Shanley, Jackie Gauvreau leaned over to her mother and whispered:

"Do you believe me now?"

More than 21 years ago, Jackie Gauvreau turned to her parish priest at St. Jean's in Newton. She asked Fr. Shanley to drive a troubled boy back to the custody of the DYS. The boy came back to say that while driving the Mass Pike, the priest reached over to grab his genitals, and assured him that having sex with either a man, or a woman, was no sin.

Jackie Gauvreau began calling the chancery in 1981 to report the twisted desires of her parish priest. She became such a legendary nuisance, according to records that attorney Eric MacLeish made public yesterday, chancery receptionists were ordered by then Bishop Thomas V. Daily, to let this member of St. Jean's Church choir dangle on hold for hours if need be.

As Eric MacLeish, who is now assembling a lawsuit on behalf of Greg Ford and his family, pointed out, " If they had picked up the phone in 1981 and listened to Jackie, Greg Ford would not have been sodomized."

"To have the cardinal and his cronies complicit in this," Jackie said, "they dared to ignore me when all the while they knew this malicious man, this sadistic whore, was abusing and sodomizing children."All these years later, Gauvreau said she never really needed validation for all that she believed. But validation is, indeed, what she received yesterday.

Likewise with Arthur Austin, who said that the post-traumatic stress he lives with is the wound inflicted upon him by Paul Shanley. Austin galvanized a room filled with media as well as sexual abuse survivors, with the chilling memory of a charismatic "street priest, " who operated a South End haven for runaways in the late '60s and early '70s.

"There are hundreds of stories (of sexual abuse) you are never going to know," Austin told the crowd in the ballroom, "you will never know what happened to those kids who made their way to that drop-off center."
Austin literally smoldered with a rage that spans some 34 years. Yesterday, he focused the brunt of it squarely upon Bernard Cardinal Law, and the coterie of bishops who provided Fr. Shanley with cover for just as long. "You Bernard, My Cardinal, My Prince of the Church, My Shephard, My Father in Christ, how long have I hungered at your indifferent door, for a crumb of compassion, justice or mercy, or even a crumb of simple honesty?" an enraged Austin read from his prepared text. "You are a liar, your own documents condemn you."

The issue transcended semantics yesterday. There was were no hair-splitting distinctions between pedophiles vs. homosexual aggression. For the bigger and more insidious crime, as Eric MacLeish pointed out, was committed by those cardinals and bishops who knowingly allowed predatory priests to "minister" to their innocent, and helpless, flocks.

Rodney Ford, who works as a police officer for Boston College, choked back tears as he let a succession of questions hang in the charged air. "What would you do if it happened to your son?" he asked. "Am I wrong to say that Cardinal Law should resign? Am I wrong to think that Cardinal Law should be prosecuted?"

As this wounded father spoke, a picture of a younger Law shaking Paul Shanley's hand appeared on the display screen. "Look at the two of them up there," Rodney Ford said. "Then, look at the picture of my son." The screen filled with a jubilant summertime vision of a tow-headed little boy in a bathing suit.

"There's my son," Rodney Ford said, his voice breaking. "I'm proud of him. I'm proud he's still here."

[Photos: Painful Memories: Arthur Austin recalls his alleged abuse by the Rev. Paul Shanley yesterday in front of a projected image of the priest, left. Parishioner Jackie Gauvreau, right, complained to the Boston Archdiocese in 1981 about the priest, who allegedly molested Greg Ford, above, when he was a child. Staff photos, left and right, by Nancy Lane.]



Church files show N.H. bishop McCormack’s role in Shanley case

By J.M. Hirsch
Foster’s Online
April 9, 2002

http://premium1.fosters.com/2002/news/apr02/09/nh0409b.htm

Concord, N.H. -- Bishop John McCormack was among top church officials who turned a blind eye for years to molestation allegations against a priest who publicly advocated sex between men and boys, according to church records released Monday.

McCormack was in charge of ministerial personnel for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston when the Rev. Paul Shanley was shuffled from one assignment to another in the 1980s and 1990s, according to Roderick MacLeish, a lawyer who released the documents at a news conference in Boston. MacLeish is representing a man who says Shanley molested him.

The documents, released to MacLeish by the archdiocese by court order, leave little doubt that church officials knew of accusations dating back to 1967 against Shanley.

McCormack, bishop of the Manchester Diocese since 1998, said he had not seen the documents and could not comment on them. The archdiocese also had no comment Monday. Shanley, believed to be in California, could not be reached.

In a written statement, McCormack did say it was "sad and clear that some priests have betrayed the trust of the people. I am sorry for this and I apologize sincerely for all that has been inflicted by the horrible actions of some priests."

McCormack, who attended seminary with Shanley, was in charge of ministerial personnel for the Boston archdiocese from 1984 to 1994. From 1992 to 1995, he handled sex abuse complaints against priests for Cardinal Bernard Law.

MacLeish said a Rochester, N.Y., woman wrote to Law in April 1985 to complain that she had heard Shanley speak about sex between men and boys, and that Shanley reportedly said, "when adults have sex with children, the children seduce them."

According to the records, the letter was forwarded to McCormack, who told the woman he would speak with Shanley about it soon. In a June letter, McCormack asked Shanley if he would like to comment on the complaint and suggested the two "get together and talk someday."

MacLeish said the response showed that Shanley’s alleged molestation was common knowledge around the archdiocese, and of little concern to it.

Around the same time, Shanley also worked as chaplain at Boston State College and at McLean Hospital. When a hospital patient accused Shanley of sexually assaulting him, Shanley lost that job, MacLeish said.

He said McCormack was among those copied in on the complaint.

"Again, nothing was done," MacLeish said.

The records also show that in 1989 Law made McCormack directly responsible for Shanley, who that year went on sick leave and by 1990 was working at St. Anne Catholic Church in San Bernardino, Calif.

The records contain numerous letters between McCormack and Shanley during this period. In them, McCormack expressed concern for Shanley’s well-being. In one letter, Shanley told McCormack he was working on youth retreats.

Church officials in San Bernardino have complained that the archdiocese sent Shanley to them without telling them about the numerous allegations against him.

McCormack appears to have had some concerns. In a December 1990 letter to another church official, McCormack said Shanley was not well.

"If he came back (to Massachusetts), I do not know what we would do with him," he said.

A year later, McCormack wrote, "It is clear to me that Father Shanley is a sick person."

Nevertheless, it was not until 1993 that McCormack alerted the diocese in San Bernadino, according to its spokesman, the Rev. Howard Lincoln. Then, Lincoln said, McCormack passed on allegations of sexual misconduct by Shanley 20 years earlier.

In the letters, Shanley expressed concern about charges being made against him back East. In a January 1994 letter, McCormack told Shanley he would let him know if anything was filed.

MacLeish said the correspondence contains numerous references to Shanley going to Costa Rica or elsewhere overseas.

In another letter that year, McCormack told Shanley there had been no additional legal activity against him, and praised him. "It is wonderful how you maintain your sense of humor," McCormack wrote.

 
 

Bishop Accountability © 2003
     
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