Court Documents Allege Priest Raped Boys Seeking Counselling

By Theo Emery
Canoe News [Boston MA]
Downloaded July 21, 2003

BOSTON (AP) - Lawyers submitting an outline for an upcoming civil trial in one of the country's most notorious clergy sex abuse cases said Monday that Rev. Paul Shanley raped and molested boys who came to him for counselling and sometimes paid for sex with teenagers.

The documents, which include about 20 affidavits from alleged victims, lay out the case that lawyers for Gregory Ford and his family want to use at the trial, including evidence of abuse by 25 other priests whose behaviour was covered up by church officials to keep the sex abuse crisis from going public.

Ford has sued the Boston archdiocese and Bernard Cardinal Law for abuse he allegedly suffered when he was a young parishioner. Shanley is also facing criminal charges for raping and sexually assaulting four men.

No dates have been set for either the civil trial or the criminal trial. Shanley has pleaded innocent.

In a related matter, Attorney General Tom Reilly's office announced that a report on clergy abuse will be released to the public Wednesday. The report concludes that criminal charges against the archdiocese are not warranted, but also includes extensive evaluation of how church officials handled the scandal.

Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for more than 100 alleged abuse victims, said he was disappointed that charges had been ruled out.

"Given the number of tragedies that have occurred by these sexual molestations and the allowance of these sexual molestations, many of my clients were hoping that there would be indictments so church leaders and individuals would be held responsible," he said.

A grand jury investigated whether Law and many of his top aides, some of whom are now bishops in other dioceses, could be held criminally responsible for moving priests from parish to parish even when they knew of abuse allegations. Law was among those who testified before the grand jury, which concluded that no criminal charges were warranted.

Law resigned as archbishop in December, after nearly a year of criticism over his role in allowing abusive priests to remain in parish work. Bishop Sean Patrick O'Malley was named July 1 as his successor, and will be installed as archbishop at the end of the month. Bishop Richard Lennon has served as interim head of the archdiocese since Law's resignation.

The archdiocese is facing about 500 civil suits from alleged victims of clergy sex abuse. Church officials have repeatedly said they remain committed to working toward an out-of-court settlement.


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