Shanley Gets October Rape Trial Date

Providence Journal [Boston MA]
February 19, 2004

BOSTON (AP) - A judge has set a tentative date for October for the criminal trial of former priest Paul R. Shanley, a key figure in the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

The trial would come more than two years after Shanley was charged with child rape. He also faces pending lawsuits by 10 victims and their family members who refused to sign onto a massive $85 million settlement with the church.

Prosecutors had sought to have the case tried before civil litigation, which lawyers said could still be delayed to follow the criminal trial.

"It would not be conceivable to me that the civil case will go before the criminal case," Roderick MacLeish Jr., the lawyer for alleged victim Gregory Ford, told the Boston Herald.

MacLeish said he wants the criminal trial to come first because evidentiary issues would be resolved during criminal proceedings, and witnesses would only have to testify once. Anything proven in criminal court does not have to be proven again in civil court.

"A conviction would have a very significant impact on the civil case," MacLeish said.

Shanley's criminal lawyer, Frank Mondano Jr., has resisted efforts to speed up the rape trial, which has been delayed due to large amounts of discovery materials sought by both sides.

"There's much that has to be done for us to get there," Mondano said.

Shanley was once known for his street ministry to gay and troubled youth. He became a focal point of the church abuse scandal after internal church records disclosed in separate civil lawsuits showed that officials did not remove him from parish work even after they received complaints about statements he made about sex between men and boys.

Church files also indicated that he had attended a meeting that was a precursor to the later formation of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.