Attorneys Submit Legal Briefs for Upcoming Shanley Trial

By Theo Emery
MetroWest Daily News [Boston MA]
July 22, 2003

BOSTON -- The Rev. Paul Shanley paid to rape and molest teenage boys and sometimes shared them with other men -- including at least one fellow priest, according to court documents filed yesterday by attorneys for Shanley's alleged victims.

The filing outlines in graphic detail the scope and breadth of the claims against Shanley, a central figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that has overwhelmed the church and now awaits Boston's incoming archbishop, Sean Patrick O'Malley.

The documents include 21 affidavits from alleged Shanley victims and a roughly 220-page brief previewing the civil case that attorneys for Gregory Ford and his family plan to present at trial in their lawsuit against the archdiocese, Cardinal Bernard Law, New Hampshire Bishop John B. McCormack and other key figures in the scandal.

The Fords' attorneys hope Suffolk Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney will allow them to present the 21 allegations of abuse by Shanley -- as well as evidence of abuse by 25 other priests whose behavior was allegedly covered up by top church officials -- to show a pattern of secrecy and neglect within the church.

The archdiocese also filed motions yesterday asking that the Fords' attorneys not be allowed to expand the scope of the trial beyond Gregory Ford's allegations, and challenging the admissibility of "recovered memory" of abuse, said the Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Coyne declined to comment on the allegations contained in the Fords' filing.

"We're just seeking to follow the normal course and the normal expected practice in law in coming to a just and equitable conclusion to the cases," he said.

Church attorney Wilson Rogers III did not return a telephone call yesterday.

Ford has sued over abuse he allegedly suffered when he was a young parishioner at St. Jean's Parish in Newton. 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.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who represents the Fords, said the affidavits are of "critical importance" to their case. But he also expressed hopes that the cases can be settled before they go to trial. Some 500 cases alleging sexual abuse by priests are still pending against the archdiocese.

"We will be working very hard on getting ready for the Ford trial, while at the same time we're hopeful that Bishop O'Malley and his lawyer will bring some resolution to these cases," he said.

One alleged victim -- a man who immigrated at 14 from South America to Lowell -- said in an affidavit that a man he met through his church would send him to Shanley, who would molest the teenager and send him back to Lowell with an envelope of money, some of which the boy would keep.

The "deliveries" continued over many years. Each time the boy would receive $50 after Shanley sexually abused him. When he was 17, the priest began taking him to bars, and would bring the teenager for games of spin-the-bottle with groups of older men, who would strip and pair off for sex.

"I did not want to have anything to do with them, but if I didn't show up for the meetings which he arranged for me, he would become totally enraged and threatened me with physical harm," wrote the 46-year-old alleged victim, who was not named.

In another affidavit, a 46-year old man now incarcerated at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley claims that Shanley and another priest molested him at the same time. The man also alleged that when he was a teen, Shanley brought him to a monastery in Brighton, where Shanley would share the boy and his cousin with other men.

The man also claimed that Shanley brought them to a Greyhound bus station in Boston, where he would prostitute them, allowing them to keep the money they made. Shanley also forced the he and his cousin to dance at a gay strip club in Boston's Combat Zone section, according to the man's statement.

Frank Mondano, an attorney representing Shanley in the criminal case, said he could not address specific allegations contained in the civil proceedings, but denied that the claims were true.

"I'm reasonably confident that if we broke them all down, we would be able to deny them all," he said. "We simply can't go out and defend against every allegation that comes down the pike."

O'Malley will be installed as archbishop on July 30. He replaces Law, who resigned last December following widespread revelations of abuse by priests.

O'Malley -- who guided the Fall River diocese through a similar crisis after the Rev. James Porter was accused of molesting children -- has sent his own attorney into settlement talks with victims' lawyers.

Kevin R. Hannaford, 53, one of the men who submitted an affidavit, said when he was abused by Shanley in the early 1960s, such things weren't reported to authorities.

"You went to sleep with it on your mind, you woke up with it on your mind," he said. "One kid is one kid too many."

In a related matter, Attorney General Thomas Reilly's office announced that a report on clergy sex abuse will be released to the public tomorrow.

The report, the product of a 16-month investigation by Reilly's office, concludes that criminal charges against the archdiocese are not warranted, but also includes extensive evaluation of how church officials handled the scandal.


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