Priest Is Sentenced in Sex Assault of a Teenager

By LeMont Calloway
The Boston Globe
July 29, 2006

CAMBRIDGE — A Middlesex Superior Court judge sentenced a 62-year-old Catholic priest to four years in state prison yesterday for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy nearly two decades ago, saying that the testimony portrayed "a predator devoid of restraint."

The Rev. Paul William Hurley of Sandwich was found guilty last month of raping the South Boston boy in the rectory of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Cambridge in 1987 and 1988. Hurley paid the boy $80 to $100 for sex, knowing that he would use the money to buy drugs, authorities have said.

"Because the law presumes conclusively that a child lacks the capacity to give meaningful consent, any act of intercourse with a child is punishable as rape," said Judge Hiller B. Zobel before imposing the sentence.

Hurley's lawyer, James J. Coviello, said he had hoped for a sentence of probation, "given the vintage of the case." He said his client planned to appeal the sentence.

Zobel received more than 100 letters supporting Hurley, who has been suspended from the ministry but remains a priest.

"I'm very surprised at the sentence," his brother, Daniel Hurley, 63, said as relatives and friends hugged one another. "We still think very highly of Paul. He has a tremendous amount of support out there."

In court Wednesday , the victim, now 33, read a statement that the abuse has made him distrustful and that he has viewed every man since the incident with suspicion and fear. It is Globe policy not to identify sexual assault victims without their consent.

"We are hopeful that this result brings some level of closure to the victim, while also providing the necessary punishment for this defendant's actions," said Melissa Sherman, spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

Hurley will serve his sentence at MCI-Cedar Junction. Upon release, Hurley will be required to register as a sex offender and serve five years on probation.


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