Jury in Priest's Sex Trial Deadlocked

United Press International
June 24, 1994

The jury deliberating the fate of a Catholic priest with molesting an altar boy in Massachusetts said Friday it was deadlocked, but the judge ordered the panel to keep trying.

The Superior Court jury in Cambridge, Mass., had weighed the evidence against the Rev. Paul Manning for about 12 hours over two days after a weeklong trial before telling Judge Robert Barton it could not reach a verdict.

But Barton told the jurors he did not "consider the time you've spent thus far to be due and thorough deliberations" given the "complexity of the case and the amount of witnesses."

The jury met for another hour before adjourning for the night, and was sequestered at a nearby hotel.

Earlier, the jury asked to reread testimony from both Manning and his chief accuser, the Rev. Paul Sughrue, the pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Woburn, Mass., where the alleged assault took place on Sept. 5, 1993.

Sughrue testified he ran upstairs in the church rectory after hearing the youth's "horrifying" screams, and saw the boy lying on top of Manning in a reclining chair with their legs bare, apparently engaged in sexual activity.

But Manning, 54, testifying in his own defense, denied that either he or the boy ever disrobed or had sex, and said they were only "rough- housing."

Investigators later found semen on the chair, but the prosecution did not link the stains to Manning.

The defense called at least 18 character witnesses in Manning's behalf, many of them teenagers or former youths who had been helped by the priest, who has long counseled children from poor and troubled homes.

The alleged victim did not testify at the trial, leaving the jury to decide whether to believe Manning or Sughrue.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.