Lawyers Say More Abused by Shanley

By Robin Washington, Tom Mashberg and Eric Convey
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
July 22, 2003

Lawyers for Gregory Ford, the key plaintiff in civil and criminal cases against alleged child rapist the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, are asserting a dozen other men endured sexual abuse by Shanley similar to the molestation described by Ford.

In papers filed in Suffolk Superior Court, attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. and colleagues claim the testimony - some of it from previously identified complainants and some from new accusers - shows Shanley's "pattern of conduct in relation to children."

"Admitting the evidence not only makes it not improbable Father Shanley molested Greg," MacLeish argues, "but serves to corroborate Greg's memories, which the defendants have challenged."

Shanley, 72, a renowned Boston street priest, has denied raping Ford. He is not a defendant in the Ford civil suit, which targets Shanley's archdiocesan supervisors, but he has been indicted on five rape counts in Middlesex District Court. He could not be reached for comment.

A lawyer for Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., who supervised Shanley for years when both clerics served in the Archdiocese of Boston, called the new claims "allegations filtered through a firm suing my client."

"I don't see how these uncorroborated allegations are relevant," said attorney Joseph L. Doherty. "These are not established facts. We do not know the circumstances and have not had the opportunity to depose the plaintiffs.

"Greg Ford has to prove the allegations he has made," he added. "Otherwise, at trial, we will have 20 cases to try instead of just one."

The allegations include charges of forced anal and oral sex, masturbation and fondling. One consistency noted in the affidavits is the claim by several men that Shanley digitally raped them and showed them pornography.

Several men allege Shanley appeared before them in a "Christ-like" pose and forced them to perform oral sex. Three say Shanley asked them to perform sex acts on other men. And two say the molestation occurred after games such as spin-the-bottle and strip poker.

The filings do not differentiate which claims are new to the case, or how and when the accusers remembered their alleged abuse.

Lawyers and church leaders named in Ford's suit have indicated they will challenge the reliability of Ford's memories. Those memories include allegations Ford was anally raped up to 80 times by Shanley between the ages of 6 and 11 while a CCD pupil in Newton. Ford says he suppressed the memory of rape by Shanley until reading about the retired priest in a newspaper Jan. 31, 2002.

The accusers' ages and the dates of the allegations vary. Of the accusers listed by MacLeish, three maintain their abuse began by age 7. One of them, Paul Busa, previously went public.

Judge Constance M. Sweeney must decide whether the testimony shows a pattern and whether a jury should consider it.

Also yesterday, Gov. Mitt Romney said he supported findings in a report on the church scandal by Attorney General Tom Reilly. Reilly will issue his full report tomorrow.

Elisabeth J. Beardsley contributed to this report.


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