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June 9–30, 2002


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Suit pushes for Law transcripts

By Tom Mashberg
Boston (MA) Herald
June 10, 2002

Attorneys for the church, its accusers and the news media will be in appelate court today pressing for the release of transcripts of Bernard Cardinal Law's sworn testimony from last week - material apt to cast a shadow over Law's visit to Dallas Thursday for a major parley of American bishops.

At Mass in Boston yesterday, the embattled cardinal asked for the prayers of the faithful as he girds for a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting where the clergy abuse crisis and its Massachusetts vortex will have center stage.

"In Dallas, we will be looking at what we can establish nationally as a norm, and so I would ask your prayers for that," Law said at Holy Cross Cathedral in the South End.

Law's new sex molestation policy differs from the draft issued last week by the U.S. bishops conference. The Boston church would allow for the removal of priests upon a single "substantive" allegation of sex abuse.

The U.S. bishops have called for a zero-tolerance against priests who molest children from here on, and a second chance for those responsible in a single past case. The Vatican would also be asked to defrock all future child abusers and offenders with more than one transgression.

The Diocese of Worcester has also outlined a new plan that its bishop, Daniel P. Reilly, will carry to Dallas, even as a sixth sitting Worcester diocese priest, the Rev. Raymond P. Messier, was removed over the weekend from assignments in Athol and Petersham.

And in New Hampshire, the besieged bishop of Manchester, John B. McCormack, who oversaw dozens of clerical molesters while serving as Law's personnel chief, told the Manchester Union-Leader he would go to Dallas to urge the strictest approach imaginable to clergy cases. Attorneys for McCormack are fighting in appelate court alongside counsel for Law to keep their depositions in the Rev. Paul R. Shanley suit under seal.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Brassard ruled the material was of "great public interest" and should be freed up. But his ruling has been stayed at least until today pending appeals.

Attorneys for the Herald and other news media, and lawyers for alleged victims of clerical abuse, are pressing that the depositions be filed publicly immediately. The aim is for the public to see how two key figures in the archdiocesan abuse scandal answered questions about supervision not just of Shanley but of dozens of additional priests with long histories of alleged abuse contained in their personnel files.

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant," said attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. of Greeenberg Traurig, who interrogated Law and McCormack last week. "These records were there for the viewing all along."

In another legal forum, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests today will withdraw its suit calling for the abolition of gag orders in settlement agreements, following the bishops' rejection of the group's attendance in Dallas.

"We hope that this action will encourage you to reconsider your cancellation of the meetings that we have worked so hard to arrange," a SNAP statement said.

Since announcing a new "zero tolerance" policy this past winter, Law has given local law enforcement the names of at least 85 priests - 15 dead and 70 living - suspected by the church of having abused children.

The archdiocese has also ridded its current ranks of 13 priests whose personnel files held data regarding abuse, or who have faced new and "substantial" charges from abuse plaintiffs.

Nationally, according to a survey by The Washington Post, the Roman Catholic Church has ousted 218 American priests from duty this year over allegations of abuse.

The survey was answered by 96 of 178 Roman Catholic dioceses around the nation, the Post said.



State may charge church authorities

By Associated Press
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
June 17, 2002

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/Main.asp?SectionID=25&SubSectionID=354&ArticleID=58830

Concord, N.H. -- Attorney General Philip McLaughlin is investigating whether Catholic Church leaders who knowingly reassigned abusive priests can be prosecuted in New Hampshire.

“The scope, frequency and duration of these crimes would have been absolutely impossible absent the aiding and abetting of some of these bishops,” McLaughlin told The Union Leader on Saturday. “And in New Hampshire, we are actively investigating this aiding and abetting issue.”

McLaughlin’s office began investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by New Hampshire clergy early this year, and in February, the first 14 names of accused priests were made public. His office now is looking into allegations against 50 priests.

But the investigation doesn’t stop there, McLaughlin says. It also includes what he calls “the enabling policies of the church.”

McLaughlin would not discuss which church officials are being investigated, but said if it’s possible to bring criminal charges, his office will do it. Future charges would hinge on whether the crimes were within the statute of limitations, he said.

The statute of limitations for a felony is six years, and one year for a misdemeanor. But if someone committed a crime in New Hampshire and then left the state, the clock stopped at the time he left, McLaughlin said.

That comes into play in the ongoing investigation into allegations that some Massachusetts priests abused children at Camp Fatima, a diocesan summer camp in Barnstead. It also may apply to church officials who assigned those priests in such situations, he said.

“These bishops had the very same responsibility before the fact,” he said. “And they may be the only people in the United States who wouldn’t have perceived what they were doing as incredibly irresponsible.”

Asked whether there are any grand jury proceedings related to the investigation, he had no comment.

McLaughlin’s comments follow Catholic bishops’ approval Friday of a national policy to remove any priest from public ministry who sexually molests a minor.

McLaughlin questions why, while individual priests have been prosecuted, some of the bishops who reassigned them to parishes even after allegations were revealed remain in positions of authority.

“Their practices having been revealed as a result of public pressure, they now promise to change,” he said. “But to the people who have been victimized by their institutional actions in the past, that is a small comfort and it is no answer for the past.

“Their current pledge of good faith is no reason for the law enforcement people of this state to say now we have no problem. The people who created the problem are saying that.”

In the charter approved Friday, the bishops agreed the church will now report any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor to public authorities and cooperate in the investigation. McLaughlin questions why such a policy even came to be necessary for the church in which he was raised.

“I know of no responsible adult who wouldn’t have reported this and stopped it from happening,” he added. “We now have an institutional commitment by the church to do that which ordinary people would have done for 50 years.”

McLaughlin expects his investigation to be completed around Oct. 1.



On the case
Source: Grand jury looking at the church

By Tom Mashberg and Franci Richardson
Boston (MA) Herald
June 19, 2002

A grand jury is poring over reams of documents from the Archdiocese of Boston to determine whether the local Catholic hierarchy can be held accountable for knowingly shifting pedophile priests from parish to parish, a source says.

A source speaking on condition of anonymity said Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly had asked the grand jury to review the thousands of pages of documentation that has been generated through the still- unfolding sex abuse scandal.

The grand jury has been sitting for "some time now" but no specific criminal charges against either Bernard Cardinal Law or any other archdiocese official are expected to result, the source said.

"They are looking at everything," the source said.

Reached late last night, Reilly spokeswoman Ann Donlan refused to either confirm or deny that a grand jury had been impaneled to review church documents. Reilly did not return a call placed to his home.

"Grand jury proceedings are secret and I can't confirm or deny that in particular," Donlan said. "I'm not in a position to confirm or deny it."

In February, Reilly made arrangements with the archdiocese to receive hundreds of pages of church files concerning known abusers in the clergy. The documents were provided after Reilly and counsel for the church arrived at an agreement.

Since then thousands more pages of church documents have been obtained by civil lawyers suing the archdiocese and Law for their role in covering up the abuses of about 85 priests serving in the archdiocese since 1960.

Sources have told the Herald that the documents released to the civil lawyers were far different than those initially provided to Reilly and far more incriminating in what they revealed of the church's role in covering up for the abusive clerics.

Reilly has had his assistants sifting through documents released by the church to see if his office could prosecute individual priests. To date two priests, the Revs. Ronald H. Paquin and Paul R. Shanley, have been jailed in Massachusetts on sex abuse charges. A third former Boston archdiocese priest, the Rev. Paul W. Desilets, has been indicted but now lives in Canada.

Documents released in recent weeks pertaining to Shanley and Paquin, in particular, reveal that high-ranking archdiocesan officials - past and present - conspired to keep those abuses secret. In many cases, prelates such as Bishop John B. McCormack, now of Manchester, N.H., told officials in other dioceses that men like Shanley and Paquin had clean records and could continue in the priesthood.

Many legal observers and church critics for weeks have been urging law enforcement in Massachusetts to apply the state's aiding and abetting and accessory after the fact statutes to members of the church hierarchy.

Sources say Reilly has consulted extensively with the attorneys who obtained the documents about whether the church archives would support a variety of charges ranging from obstruction of justice to federal civil rights violations.

But publicly, Reilly - who was instrumental in getting legislation passed requiring clergy to be mandated reporters of child sexual abuse - has warned there may be little room for prosecution.

"The state laws don't seem to support at this time from our review charges of accessory or aiding and abetting," Donlan said. "But we have an obligation to take a look at that. We certainly are looking at that question."

Meanwhile, a Westchester County grand jury yesterday issued a scathing 13-page report calling for felony charges against molesting priests and church officials who covered for them within the New York Archdiocese.

The grand jury met for two months, reviewing tens of thousands of pages of documents and heard from eight alleged victims of abuse by priests before issuing the report. Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the New York Archdiocese, called the report "unbalanced, unfair and inaccurate."
Herald wire services contributed to this report.



Shanley indicted for abuses

By Robin Washington and Tom Mashberg
Boston (MA) Herald
June 21, 2002

The Rev. Paul R. Shanley, the one-time street priest jailed since May on charges of molesting a boy attending religion classes at a Newton church, was indicted yesterday on 16 counts of child abuse involving four boys under his charge.

The indictment, handed down by a Middlesex grand jury, includes 10 counts of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery on a minor, Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley said.

"The allegations involve situations where these young men are attending a weekly class, Father Shanley is the pastor at the time, (and) he asks for one or more of the students to come to assist him," Coakley said.

At that point, Shanley would molest them, she said, detailing the criminal acts as including anal and oral penetration.

All of the allegations fall within the statute of limitations, she said.

Frank Mondano, Shanley's attorney, did not return a call seeking comment. Bernard Cardinal Law responded in a written statement.

"As shocking and terrible as is the news of these indictments against Father Paul Shanley, all of us owe a debt of profound gratitude to abused persons who bring such acts into the light," he wrote.

"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, who served as a Boston street priest and pastor of St. Jean's/St. John's Parish in Newton before eventually moving to San Diego, was arrested May 2 in that city on charges of raping one of the four former CCD students.

The grand jury had been investigating charges by three of them - all clients of attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. - at the time of the arrest. Since then, the fourth man filed his complaint.

MacLeish is representing all four in suits against the church.

Three of them - Paul Busa and Greg Ford of Newton and a third man who requested anonymity - are 24-year-olds who allege multiple cases of rape and molestation.

After hearing of the indictments, Rodney Ford, father of Greg Ford, said, "To Paul Shanley's victims, we say there is now hope he will never abuse another boy. To those who have died, we say may they now rest in peace."

The fourth accuser is a 32-year-old who has never met the others and was not familiar with their allegations when he approached law enforcement, MacLeish said.

MacLeish and Coakley said the charges brought by that accuser, which date to 1979, were prosecutable because Shanley left Massachusetts in 1989. Under Bay State law, the statute of limitations on felonies "tolls," or freezes, if the accused becomes a permanent resident of another state.

Coakley said her office has received additional sexual misconduct allegations against the retired priest, but said most of them are incidents beyond the statute of limitations. She declined to say how many others she received.

"It's certainly larger than the number that we've indicted him for today," she said, adding, "The investigation is still open."

Coakley said the grand jury did not look at accessory charges, such as complicity of church officials in keeping Shanley's actions secret, though she did not rule it out.

"Anything is possible, but that's not under review for us today," she said.
MacLeish too said he has heard from others and is interviewing at least two more potential plaintiffs.

"We are locating as many victims of Shanley as we can. The first priority is to help law enforcement protect children from predators like him," he said.

Shanley, who is being held in Middlesex Jail in lieu of $350,000 cash bail, will be arraigned on the additional charges next week, Coakley said.

Also yesterday, attorney Mitchell Garabedian and several of his clients in the case against defrocked priest and convicted child molester John J. Geoghan expressed skepticism about a 30-day truce announced Wednesday between the Archdiocese of Boston and four plaintiffs' lawyers.

"What are they going to say to the other attorneys over the next 30 days?" Garabedian asked.

Garabedian and his 86 plaintiffs signed a $20 million-plus settlement deal with the church in February that called for an outside arbitrator to set payouts to Geoghan's victims.

But the church abandoned the deal in May, saying it was too costly. Garabedian is now petitioning Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney, who oversaw the settlement and is now in charge of all cases emerging from the church abuse scandal, to impose the deal by court order.

"I will not go back to the settlement table," Garabedian said when asked whether he would join with the other lawyers in the moratorium on depositions and other civil actions. "We already had an agreement, and they reneged."

Geoghan accuser Anthony Muzzi Jr. added: "I will not go through this again. I thought we had some sort of closure and they backed out. We no longer trust them."

In another development, a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, John M. Greaney, declined yesterday to order the immediate release of written and audio-video transcripts of recent depositions of Law, Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., and other former and current archdiocesan officials.

Attorneys for the Herald and other news media have been pressing for the release of the material since a Superior Court Judge, Raymond J. Brassard, ordered nearly three weeks ago that they be made available to the public.

Greaney ordered the matter sent to Sweeney, who recently was named as the judge overseeing the rash of nearly 400 sexual-abuse cases against the church.

Sweeney has already indicated that she will allow the written depositions to be filed publicly, but not until 30 days after their completions. Because some depositions are ongoing - Law is scheduled for further interrogation by MacLeish - it is unlikely that the depositions would be freed up soon.

Still, media lawyers will go before Sweeney on Wednesday to renew arguments that there is a compelling public interest in having the material released. Lawyers for broadcast outlets in particular want the judge to free up the videotapes.

However, Sweeney has said in the past that the videotapes were to be made only to memorialize the testimony of Law and the others in case those persons are not available in the event there is need for a civil jury trial.

[Photo Captions - 1) Press Conference: Attorney Roderick MacLeish speaks to media yesterday as father of Rodney Ford, an alleged victim of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, looks on. Staff photo by Michael Seamans. 2) Shanley]



McLaughlin: Diocese not fully cooperative

By Associated Press
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
June 21, 2002

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/Main.asp?SectionID=25&SubSectionID=354&ArticleID=59049

Concord, N.H. -- Attorney General Philip McLaughlin said Thursday he wants the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester to grant authorities full access to its files, but has yet to receive complete cooperation from church officials.

Speaking about his investigation into whether church leaders knowingly reassigned abusive priests, McLaughlin took issue with a church spokesman’s comment describing the diocese as a leader in cooperating with authorities.

“I can only say I would not characterize it that way,” McLaughlin said. “How I would characterize it is to say we continue to have dialogues with the Diocese of Manchester, and my hope is it will lead to open cooperation.”

McLaughlin has said he is convinced church leaders committed crimes by knowingly moving abusive priests from one parish to another, where they then molested more children.

Patrick McGee, spokesman for the diocese, responded to McLaughlin in a Union Leader story Tuesday by saying, “The Diocese of Manchester has been one of the leaders in open cooperation with civil authorities.”

On Thursday, McLaughlin said he strongly disagreed. “He expressed a view. I expressed a different view. He’s entitled to his opinion. For all I know, he may know more about the way other dioceses are operating than I do,” McLaughlin said.

“I don’t view it in terms of comparisons to other dioceses. I can only tell you that which we seek we have not in their entirety gotten,” he said. “We continue discussions to try to meet that objective.”

McGee did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

McLaughlin would not say whether he will resort to a court order to compel the church to open its files. He said his office has received some materials from the diocese, but would not characterize them.

Bishop John B. McCormack, who has been accused of shuffling around accused priests while he worked for Cardinal Bernard Law in the Boston Archdiocese, in February released a list of New Hampshire priests against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse had been made. He has been New Hampshire’s bishop since 1998.

McLaughlin said his office continues to discuss the issue of access to files with church leaders. He said he anticipates his investigators eventually will get what they want, but they have yet to reach that point.

“I think there is a very decent chance that at the end of the day we will have the dialogues that will result in what it is the state is looking for, which is open and broad and unrestricted access to files,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin has not said which church officials are being investigated, but said his office will bring charges if possible.

McLaughlin said his office has received sexual abuse allegations against nearly 50 clergymen, and that the alleged victims number significantly more than that. He hopes to complete his investigation by October.



N.H. diocese insists it’s cooperating with attorney general’s investigation

By Associated Press
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
June 23, 2002

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/Main.asp?SectionID=25&SubSectionID=354&ArticleID=59153

Manchester -- A spokesman for the Catholic Church in New Hampshire insists officials are cooperating with the state’s investigation into priest sexual abuse.

“We do know that the Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation,” said Patrick McGee, public relations specialist for the Diocese of Manchester. “We once again are saying we intend to cooperate fully with that investigation.”

Last week, Attorney General Philip McLaughlin said the diocese hasn’t been very cooperative as the state tries to get a look at church files that might shed light on how it responded to abuse complaints. McLaughlin said his office still is pressing for access to some records.

McLaughlin also has said he was examining whether any church leaders could be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting” sexual abuse of children.

His remarks raised speculation as to whether prosecutors might convene a grand jury. It was reported last week the Massachusetts attorney general has convened a grand jury to investigate the Boston Archdiocese’s handling of the scandal.

Lawyer Charles Douglas III said McLaughlin could be signaling church leaders they should turn over the evidence willingly.

“I sense what McLaughlin is saying is: ‘Produce it, or else I will have you bring it to a grand jury.’ That’s their dilemma,” said Douglas, who is suing the church on behalf of a dozen alleged abuse victims.

Douglas said the church should expect both civil attorneys and prosecutors to fight for access to the records.

“It’s like holding a one-pound steak in front of a Doberman and being surprised when he jumps and snaps,” Douglas said. “If it’s harmless, why is it secret?”

If the church claimed it was privileged information, Douglas said, a judge would probably review it in private to determine whether it was relevant to the civil cases or a criminal investigation.

Douglas said investigators would be looking for complaints made against priests over the past few decades and a paper trail on what the church did to discipline priests or restrict their contact with children.

Meanwhile, the church probably is weighing public relations considerations versus legal concerns and pressure from church lawyers who will advise: “Make them fight for it,” Douglas said.

Lawyer John Kacavas, a former state prosecutor, said McLaughlin’s office is probably seeking evidence that could be used to prosecute church leaders using some kind of accomplice theory.

He believes that with enough evidence, a prosecutor could probably establish a theory of liability against church leaders who did nothing to stop the accused priests.

Kacavas believes that while the Attorney General’s Office could be looking at other things, like obstruction of justice, it sounds more likely that a grand jury will be convened in New Hampshire – if it hasn’t been already – to determine whether crimes have been committed by church leaders.



McCormack predates N.H. church probe

By Associated Press
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
June 24, 2002

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/Main.asp?SectionID=25&SubSectionID=354&ArticleID=59230

Concord -- The state’s investigation of Catholic Church leaders is focused on
the time before Bishop John McCormack came to the state, and McCormack is unlikely to be investigated, Attorney General Phil McLaughlin said.

The state is investigating whether church leaders knowingly reassigned abusive priests.

McLaughlin declined to identify by name the church officials his office is investigating. But he said McCormack was not in New Hampshire when the Diocese of Manchester is accused of mishandling sexual abuse allegations.

“He’s been here since 1998, and virtually the entirety of (the allegations) predates the McCormack years,” McLaughlin said.

Massachusetts authorities are conducting a similar investigation of Boston church leaders and will likely look at McCormack, who handled sexual abuse allegation there before coming to New Hampshire.

McLaughlin announced in February that his office was investigating claims of child sexual abuse against priests. Last week, he said his investigation extends to the church officials who oversaw and reassigned those priests who were accused.

“From close to the very beginning we had questions about organizational practices,” he said in an interview with The Concord Monitor on Friday.

McLaughlin said seven investigators in his department are working on clergy abuse.

“The state will continue to gather evidence and make assessments about the ability to bring criminal complaints,” McLaughlin said. “And when we are able to do that, we will do it.”

He said he hopes to conclude the investigation by early October.

Patrick McGee, spokesman for the diocese, said the church will not stand in McLaughlin’s way.

“We do know there is an investigation, and we plan to fully cooperate,” he said.



Magazine reports accusations on Shanley

By Sacha Pfeiffer
Boston (MA) Globe
June 26, 2002

In the latest accusation of sexual abuse against the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, a 30-year-old California man has alleged that Shanley repeatedly raped him over several years, beginning in 1990 when he was 17 years old.

The accusations were made by Kevin English of Big Bear Lake, Calif., Shanley's first known alleged West Coast victim, and involve alleged abuse that falls within the criminal statute of limitations, unlike many of the complaints against Shanley dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.

English also alleges that Shanley encouraged him to watch pornograpy and have sex with other men at a gay motel Shanley co-owned in Palm Springs, Calif., with the Rev. John J. White, another Boston priest on leave in California at the time.

English also charges that after Shanley's alleged history of abuse received wide publicity this year, Shanley called him and and said, "Don't talk to anyone and don't believe these stories you are seeing about me. They are all a bunch of lies made up by the media."

English's allegations are detailed in an 8,000-word story in the August issue of Vanity Fair, due on newsstands next week. The story, by Maureen Orth, is a narrative of Shanley's life and his career as Boston's onetime "street priest," a position Shanley now stands accused of having used to sexually abuse dozens of boys.

English could not be reached for comment. Boston attorney Carmen Durso, who represents English with two California lawyers, said English's case was "so clearly preventable by virtue of everything that was known about Shanley" before he was transferred to San Bernardino in 1990.

Shanley was transferred in 1990 by the Boston Archdiocese to the San Bernardino Diocese, where he worked as an associate pastor for three years at St. Anne's Parish. The transfer was arranged on the basis of a letter sent by Bishop Robert J. Banks, then Cardinal Bernard Law's top deputy, telling the San Bernardino diocese that Shanley was "a priest in good standing" in Boston.

At the time, the Boston Archdiocese had been notified that Shanley had publicly advocated sexual relations between men and boys and Law had allegedly been told by a Newton woman that Shanley had attempted to molest one youth at a church there.

Shanley was indicted last week on charges that he raped four boys at the now-closed St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton. He has been held on bail pending arraignment since his arrest in San Diego last month.

Durso said English, who first notified San Bernardino church officials of his accusations earlier this month, will be reporting his allegations against Shanley to California law enforcement officials "shortly." Durso also said he anticipates filing a civil suit on English's behalf against the Boston Archdiocese, Shanley, Law, Banks, and Manchester, N.H., Bishop John B. McCormack, who was also previously one of Law's top deputies.

 
 

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