‘He does not meet the criteria’

By Owen Boss
July 29, 2017

CONCERN REGISTERED: Defrocked priest Paul Shanley walks outside his new home in Ware, next door to three other registered sex offenders across from a dance studio. The town’s selectman chairman says she’s ‘concerned’ by the arrangement.
Photo by Mark Garfinkel

Convicted child rapist and defrocked Catholic priest Paul Shanley was released from prison yesterday after two state-contracted psychologists ruled that because of his advanced age and medical status, he wasn’t a “sexually dangerous” person. Here are excerpts from the psychologists’ reports:

  • “In reviewing Mr. Shanley’s risk from an actuarial perspective, the Static 99R, a commonly accepted actuarial tool, yields a result of -1, which places him within the ‘below average risk’ rage of sexual reoffense.”
  • “Mr. Shanley’s behavior meets the threshold required by the statute for Mental Abnormality. He demonstrates a persistent or chronic deviant sexual interest in prepubescent and under aged male children. In my opinion, Mr. Shanley suffers from a condition that predisposes him to the commission of criminal sexual acts and makes him a menace to the health and safety of others as required by the statute.”
  • “Age is a factor that can mitigate risk. Individuals who sexually assault children, victims under the age of 16, demonstrate the most precipitous decrease in risk at the age of 50. Mr. Shanley’s current age 86 would suggest a mitigation risk. Factors associated with age include health, motivation, and opportunity.”
  • “In any case, in my opinion, based on my review of records received through the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office that included depositions and information related to the civil trial, interview with one of the victims family members, Mr. Shanley’s medical status, his age, and the nature and combination of risk factors present in his case, he does not meet the threshold by the statue for likely to reoffend sexually.”
  • “Mr. Shanley does meet the psychiatric criteria for a mental abnormality. However, given his advanced age, that he shows few risk factors associated with higher rates of re-offending ... it cannot be said with a reasonable degree of professional certainty that Mr. Shanley is likely to sexually re-offend ... As such, he does not meet the criteria for a Sexually Dangerous Person in the Commonwealth.”



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