Survivors decry decision to free pederast priest

By Brian Dowling
July 27, 2017

PAIN STILL THERE: Attorney Mitchell Garabedian comforts Rodney Ford, the father of Greg Ford, who was a victim of Paul Shanley, as Ford speaks to media.
Photo by Patrick Whittemore

[with video]

Sexual abuse survivors and their lawyers protested the clinical findings that led to the release of convicted pedophile priest Paul Shanley and warned the 86-year-old defrocked cleric will be a public danger to children and adults when he gets out of jail tomorrow.

Attorney Carmen L. Durso, who represented many of Shanley’s victims, slammed the conclusions of two doctors who said the former priest is no longer considered “sexually dangerous” for the purposes of having him civilly committed after serving 12 years for the rape and indecent assault of a child.

“If Paul Shanley doesn’t qualify as a sexually dangerous person then nobody will qualify,” Durso said. “The standards used here are archaic, erratic. The law has to be changed.”

Durso and attorney Mitchell Garabedian said officials from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office who commissioned the clinical evaluations told them Shanley was found not to be “sexually dangerous” partially because of his advanced age.

“Age is not a factor when it comes to pedophile priests sexually abusing innocent children,” Garabedian said.

Rodney Ford, the father of Gregory Ford, whose abuse case sent Shanley to jail, said the former priest destroyed the lives of his son, his family members and “so many other victims.”

“We now have two doctors disagreeing with hundreds of thousands of people who know Paul Shanley is a dangerous sexual person,” Ford said. “He brutally raped, sodomized children. He pimped out women and children. He brutalized the handicapped. You can’t tell me he doesn’t fit the criteria of sexually dangerous person.”

Denis O’Connor, who was abused by Shanley when he was about 15, said he was dismayed to learn that Shanley has not acknow­ledged his problem.

“I’d be happy to sit down with him and talk with him about his problem and help him admit his problem,” O’Connor said. “Letting him out of prison without him acknow­ledging he has a problem is not helping.”

The survivors and attorneys said the public should join to keep Shanley away from children.

“Every parent has to be vigilant with their kids,” Ford said. “If they see Paul Shanley in their neighborhood, they need to contact authorities right away to say they are not happy with Paul Shanley in their communities and they want him out.”


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