Ex-Priest Seeking New Trial

By Kerri Roche
Daily News Tribune
May 29, 2008


A defrocked Newton priest convicted of raping a young boy will appear before a Suffolk Superior Court judge today and challenge the repressed memories of his victim in hopes of a new trial.

In 2005, Paul Shanley, 77, was convicted by a Middlesex Superior Court jury on two counts of rape of a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery upon a child.

Paul Shanley

He is serving a 12- to 15-year sentence at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater.

Shanley was one of the most notorious figures in the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal.

Today, a judge will hear Shanley's request for a new a trial.

The sole victim to take the stand previously testified Shanley repeatedly raped and molested him as a child at St. Jean's Catholic Church in Nonantum.

The victim, who was 27 years old when he testified, said the abuse began in the 1980s when he was 6 years old and continued until he was 12.

During cross-examination, Shanley's previous attorney, Frank Mondano, questioned the validity of the victim's childhood memories. The criminal charges brought against Shanley were based upon memories the victim said he repressed until they were triggered and recalled after the Boston Archdiocese's clergy sex abuse scandal made headlines.

Shanley was arrested after moving to California in 2002. Although the rape and abuse of the victim occurred nearly two decades before allegations were brought forward, authorities could still press charges because the statute of limitation does not apply if the suspect moves out of state.

Shanley was originally charged with raping four boys, but prosecutors dropped three of those cases to strengthen their case and guarantee a conviction.

Personnel records from the archdiocese showed that church officials knew Shanley supported gay sex and publicly advocated for sexual relationships between men and boys.

Kerri Roche can be reached at or 781-398-8009.


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