13k Want Newton Priest Paul Shanley in Secure Treatment Facility
By Jenna Fisher
August 4, 2017
Now that he's out of prison, more than 13,000 people want the 86-year old former priest convicted of raping a small boy while he was a pastor at Newton's St. Jean L'Evangeliste church to get special treatment.
Thousands of people from near and far have signed a Care2 petition asking the state and the Boston Archdiocese put the former priest, Paul Shanley, who was released after serving 12 years in prison for raping a boy while he was head of a Newton church, in a secure treatment center.
He will now begin 10 years of supervised probation, but Matan Uziel who started the petition says it’s not enough. (( Follow the Newton Patch for all the latest news on Newton))
Uziel, founder of Real Women, Real Stories, a video project that seeks to promote awareness of the hardships women face, says he is concerned because prison does not treat pedophilia, and because Shanley will not be ordered to wear a GPS bracelet.
Uziel said he hopes Shanley will be placed in one of the many secure treatment facilities used by the Catholic church -- some independent, some church-affiliated -- to treat abusive priests.
“We can't continue to let rapist priests walk free without rehabilitation,” Uziel wrote in the petition.
The former priest was at the forefront of the Boston Clergy sex abuse scandal and convicted in 2005 of raping at least one 6-year-old boy at St. Jean's Church in Newton.
In the 1980s Paul Shanley served as pastor of St. Jean's. He was transferred to California but a decade later was arrested and then convicted three years later. At first he was accused of assaulting four boys, who alleged that for years beginning in 1983, when they were 6 years old, Shanley would pull them out of catechism classes and rape them.
Back in 2005, the DA's office requested a life sentence for Shanley, who was eventually convicted of two counts of rape of a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. He got 12.
While he was in prison he appealed his case in 2007, it was at first denied. Then in 2009 it was sent to the Supreme Judicial Court which affirmed the original conviction the following year. He was convicted based on the memories of one man's memories of what took place between 1983 and 1989 after three other men were dropped from the case.
The news that Shanley's time was up and he was being released, was met with anger from priest abuse victims and their advocates who worry he his still a danger to the public.
In its annual report last year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said that from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, it received 730 credible abuse allegations against 361 priests.