Ex-priest’s Release Upsets Lawyer for Sex Abuse Victims
By Fred Hanson
July 26, 2017
The scheduled release from prison of an ex-priest convicted of raping a child shows the need for changes in the state’s civil commitment law, an advocate for clergy sex abuse victims said.
BOSTON – A lawyer for victims of clergy sex abuse said the release of a former priest convicted of raping a child shows why the state’s civil commitment law needs to be changed.
Paul Shanley, who as a Catholic priest was assigned to Braintree’s St. Francis of Assisi Parish in the 1960s, will be released Friday from the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater. He was convicted in 2005 of two counts each of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child. He was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison.
Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said her office was unsuccessful in getting a civil commitment to keep Shanley, 86, in custody.
“The defendant will be monitored by the probation department for the next 10 years and has been ordered to have no contact with children under 16 years of age,” Ryan told WCVB-TV in a statement.
Carmen Durso, a South Shore lawyer who has represented many of Shanley’s victims, said the basis for civil commitment leans too heavily on statistics rather than an evaluation of the individual.
“If Paul Shanley doesn’t fit into the category of a sexually dangerous person then no one would fit,” Durso said. “No one is more dangerous than Paul Shanley.”