Paul Shanley, Newton priest convicted of raping young boy, to be released from prison Friday: reports

By Dan Glaun
July 25, 2017

Paul Shanley, a former Boston Archdiocese priest convicted in 2005 of raping a young boy during the 1980s, will be released from prison on Friday, according to media reports.

Shanley has completed a 12 to 15 year sentence for abusing a boy he knew from religion classes he taught in Newton. The abuse occurred between 1983 and 1989, when the child was between the ages of six and 12. 

Shanley now will be set free, the Middlesex District Attorney said in a statement, which acknowledged an unfruitful attempt by prosecutors to examine whether the ex-priest could be held in custody as a danger to the general public.

"The Commonwealth is not legally permitted to seek that Shanley be confined further without expert testimony that he meets the legal criteria for civil confinement as a sexually dangerous person," the DA's office said. "To that end we hired two qualified examiners.  We are awaiting their final reports; however both doctors have informed us that they have concluded that Shanley does not satisfy the legal criteria for a petition to be filed."

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian told CBS Boston Shanley is to be released on Friday. Garabedian intends to hold a press conference tomorrow, with at least one of Shanley's alleged victims.

Shanley will serve 10 years probation and be ordered to stay away from children under 16, the DA's office said.

Shanley, 86, became known in the 1960s and 1970s as a "street priest" who reached out and helped people on the outskirts of society, the Boston Globe reported -- addicts, runaway children and gay people.

But as he built a reputation as an advocate for the downtrodden, he also amassed a case file of sexual abuse allegations and was sent from parish to parish by church authorities, according to records uncovered by the Boston Globe during the Boston Diocese sexual abuse scandal in the early 2000s.

While multiple people made allegations against Shanley, only one ended up as part of his criminal case, leading to his 2005 conviction. In that case, the victim said he had recovered repressed memories of abuse.

Shanley's attorneys challenged his conviction, arguing that the court had wrongly relied on the unproven theory that traumatic memories could be repressed during childhood and recovered as an adult. But the Supreme Judicial Court denied his request for a new trial in 2010.

"Paul Shanley's crimes against children were reprehensible. No young person should ever have to experience such violations of their safety and dignity," the Archdiocese of Boston told WCVB in a statement. "We continue to assure all victims of abuse of our prayers and our concern. Any person who has been harmed by clergy sexual abuse, and in particular those who may need additional support at this time, are encouraged to contact the Archdiocese's Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach at 617-746-5995."



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