in San Diego on Mass. warrant
By Robert O'Neill
May 3, 2002
BOSTON -- The Rev. Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the
sex scandal engulfing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, was arrested
yesterday on charges he repeatedly raped a young boy over a seven-year period.
|In this image from WBZ/KFMB television, San Diego police arrest
the Rev. Paul Shanley in San Diego yesterday on three counts of rape
of a child. Officials allege that Shanley, one of the priests at the
center of the Boston church abuse scandal, raped the victim between
1983 and 1990 at St. Jean Parish in Newton, Mass., when the alleged
victim was between the ages of 6 and 13.
Shanley, 71, who has spoken in favor of sex between men and boys, voluntarily
surrendered at an apartment in San Diego on a warrant from Massachusetts.
He is charged with three counts of raping a child -- sometimes in the
church confessional -- during the 1980s.
The charges stem from allegations made by Paul Busa, 24, a former Air
Force military policeman, according to a source close to the case. Busa
has publicly discussed recalling the alleged rapes in February, after
learning that a childhood friend had accused Shanley of abuse.
Neither Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley nor Busa's attorney,
Roderick MacLeish Jr., would confirm that Busa was the subject of the
Shanley also has been sued, along with the archdiocese, by Gregory Ford,
24, and Ford's parents, who claim Shanley repeatedly raped Gregory when
he was a child.
In a civil lawsuit against the archdiocese, Busa said Shanley began abusing
him in 1983, when he was 6, and continued through 1989.
Shanley took the boy out of his religious instruction classes on an almost
weekly basis and brought him to the bathroom, across the street to the
rectory or to the confessional at St. Jean Parish in Newton to abuse him,
Shanley warned him that if he told, no one would believe him, according
Coakley said the man came forward during the past week in the wake of
widespread media reports, including the disclosure of 1,600 pages from
Shanley's personnel file that showed that several superiors in the archdiocese
knew of allegations of abuse against him.
Busa, who declined comment through his attorney, has talked frequently
in recent weeks about remembering the alleged abuse. He said he quit his
job in the military after suffering a physical and mental breakdown.
"In the beginning, I questioned myself a lot," Busa said in
a recent interview. "I thought, 'Was I making this up?' The way my
body was reacting, I knew it had happened. I had no control over my body.
Christ, I'm anxious all the time."
Prosecutors said they are looking into several other "credible"
allegations that have recently emerged against Shanley.
Until recently, prosecutors believed Shanley may have fled the country.
Coakley said her office acted quickly to arrest him after television reporters
found him last week in San Diego.
An extradition hearing was scheduled for this morning in San Diego Superior
The criminal charges were the first to be filed against Shanley. He faces
a possible life sentence if convicted of the charges.
"Today is a very big day for us," said Rodney Ford, of Newton,
the father of Gregory Ford. "But it's only the beginning and we will
continue to seek the truth for all the families."
Over the past month, Shanley has become a central figure in the explosive
abuse scandal that has consumed the Catholic Church.
The former "street priest," as portrayed in more than 1,600
documents recently released by the archdiocese, actively preached to Boston's
gay community after his 1960 ordination and established a ministry for
runaways, drug abusers, drifters and teenagers struggling with sexual
The documents also reveal a darker side of Shanley's ministry -- his endorsement
of sex between men and boys, his treatment for a sexually transmitted
disease, and his attendance at a conference at which the North American
Man-Boy Love Association was apparently created.
Church officials transferred Shanley to Newton in 1980 despite their knowledge
of his NAMBLA affiliation, the records show, and they sent him to California
in 1990 without warning church leaders there that he had been accused
repeatedly of sexually abusing children.
Once in California, Shanley and another former priest, John L. White,
operated a Palm Springs, Calif., resort that catered to homosexuals. Until
1993, he was assigned part-time to the San Bernardino Diocese, where he
sometimes supervised children. He then moved to San Diego.
Shanley was fired from his volunteer job at the San Diego Police Department
after the sex abuse allegations surfaced in Boston.
The Boston archdiocese's knowledge of allegations against the priest extend
as far back as 1967, according to the records, when a colleague at the
LaSalette Shrine in Attleboro wrote a letter to the archdiocese, claiming
that Shanley had taken boys to a cabin and masturbated them.
The records had been sought by the Fords, who are suing the archdiocese
and Cardinal Bernard Law for negligence for allowing Shanley to be posted
to the Newton parish where Ford was allegedly repeatedly abused and raped
as a child.
Shanley has issued no public statements since the case began.
Shanley's Boston attorney, Frank Mondano, did not immediately return repeated
calls seeking comment yesterday.
In a statement, archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said the church
hopes the arrest "will bring some level of relief and contribute
to the healing of those who have been sexually abused as children and
teenagers, their families and all who suffer during this horrific time."
Maria Leo, 36, of Newton, a Catholic who knows two of Shanley's alleged
victims, said yesterday's arrest will end at least one chapter in the
"I'm excited no one else will be hurt by him," said Leo, the
mother of two young boys. "He won't be victimizing anyone anymore."
Associated Press writer Ben Fox in San Diego contributed to this report.