Paul Shanley, convicted child rapist and former priest, released from prison

Boston Globe

By John R. Ellement, Maria Cramer and Travis Andersen GLOBE STAFF JULY 28, 2017

WARE — A frail-looking Paul R. Shanley used a cane and was helped by another man as he arrived in this small town Friday, where the convicted child rapist will be living across the street from a new dance studio whose clients are as young as 2 years old.

Shanley, 86, a former Roman Catholic priest, gained notoriety in the clergy sex abuse scandal that spread from Boston and shook the church worldwide. He was released from state prison earlier Friday after wrapping up a 12-year sentence for raping and indecently assaulting a boy in a Newton church in the 1980s.

Shanley’s freedom was opposed by Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office, but two forensic psychologists concluded he did not qualify as a sexually dangerous person who could be civilly committed for up to the rest of his life.

The Sex Offender Registry Board, however, has classified Shanley as a Level 3 sex offender, considered the most likely to reoffend, and has made his convictions and his new address publicly available on its website. …

Ware Police Chief Shawn Crevier said Shanley is the third Level 3 sex offender who will be living on Pulaski Street in the Hampden County town of about 10,000 people. He said Shanley’s conviction and notoriety presents a public safety challenge because he needs to protect Shanley from being assaulted, and needs to protect the public from Shanley.

“Everyone’s safety is a primary concern, regardless of how they are,’’ he said. “We are going to protect everybody’s rights.”

After registering with police, Shanley drove off, lying down in the backseat of a Nissan sedan.

Shanley’s new residence on Pulaski Stris across the street from a recently opened dance studio whose 23-year-old owner, Arielle Lask, said some of her clients are as young as 2. Lask vowed to install “state-of-the-art” security systems and to make sure every child leaves Limelight Dance Studio accompanied by a parent or an adult.

“It’s awful that he’s even on the streets of Ware,’’ said Lask, a recent UMass-Amherst graduate. “Whether it’s across the street or down the road, there are children everywhere.”

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