The Trial and Conviction of Paul Shanley - as per The New York Times
Former Priest Is Sentenced to 12 to 15 Years in RapeNew York Times, 16 February 2005 by Pam Belluck
AMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 15 - Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest who became a reviled symbol of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church in Boston, was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 to 15 years in prison for raping a boy 20 years ago in the suburban church where he was pastor.
In a crowded courtroom that included people who said they had been abused by Mr. Shanley or other priests, Judge Stephen A. Neel of Middlesex Superior Court said, "It is difficult to imagine a more egregious misuse of trust and authority than that which occurred in this case."
The judge said Mr. Shanley "used his position to enable his sexual abuse, on Sunday mornings, of a young C.C.D. student," referring to the former student's assertion that Mr. Shanley had pulled him out of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes to rape him orally and digitally in the bathroom, pews, confessional and rectory of the church from the time he was 6 until he was 9.
Mr. Shanley, 74, was one of the few priests in the abuse scandal to face a criminal trial because accusations against many other priests involved events that happened too long ago to be prosecuted. Known as a charismatic advocate for troubled adolescents in the 1970's, Mr. Shanley was convicted last week on two counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.
Judge Neel sentenced Mr. Shanley to 10 years' probation on the assault conviction and barred him from having contact with children under 16.
Mr. Shanley, led to the courtroom in leg shackles and out with the addition of handcuffs, looked drawn but did not otherwise react. His lawyer, Frank Mondano, said Mr. Shanley would appeal. Mr. Mondano, who had submitted to the judge 18 letters of support for Mr. Shanley, said the sentencing "has been profoundly distorted by emotion."
Mr. Mondano had asked if Mr. Shanley could serve his sentence in a county jail, alluding to the killing in prison of John Geoghan, another priest convicted of abuse. But Mr. Shanley was ordered to state prison.
The sentence was longer than guidelines called for but shorter than the life sentence sought by the prosecutor, Lynn Rooney, who told the judge, "There has been no remorse on the part of this defendant."
Mr. Shanley's accuser also wanted a life sentence. Now a 27-year-old firefighter from suburban Boston, he submitted a handwritten statement read by Ms. Rooney.
"I came here to hear you say that Paul Shanley is gonna die in prison," the man wrote. "I want him to die in prison, whether it's of natural causes or otherwise. However he dies, I hope it's slow and painful."
The firefighter has said he repressed the memory of being molested until three years ago, when he read a newspaper article about other accusations of abuse by Mr. Shanley.
The firefighter's wife read a statement about the trauma her husband had suffered since.
"I remember washing blood and pulling plaster from his hand after he punched a hole in our bedroom wall when the stress got the better of him in preparation for this trial," she said. Then she addressed Mr. Shanley without looking at him.
"You are a coward who hid behind God," she said, adding, "You are sick to your core."
Her husband has been identified publicly in the past but asked not to be identified at the trial.
Since the scandal erupted, about two dozen men have said they were sexually abused by Mr. Shanley, and some won settlements in a civil lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston last year. Four were originally part of the criminal case, but prosecutors dropped those charges, apparently because the accusers did not want their troubled backgrounds exposed in court.
Mr. Mondano had argued that the remaining accuser concocted his story along with the other three to win his $500,000 settlement in the civil suit.
One of the men, Greg Ford, sat in the courtroom on Tuesday. His father, Rodney, said of Mr. Shanley, "I want him to go to hell, like all these victims have gone to hell."
Martha Coakley, the district attorney, said the accuser had "very much wanted and hoped to hear the word 'life' " from the judge. Because of Mr. Shanley's age, Ms. Coakley said, "as a practical matter the sentence imposed today will be life."
Arthur Austin, 56, who said he was abused by Mr. Shanley when he went to him for counseling about being gay in the 1970's, but was not one of the four originally named in the criminal trial, said: "How I feel today? The spell is broken. For the first time in more than 35 years, I can sleep through the night."
Mr. Austin added, weeping, "I was going to get a shirt silk-screened with the word 'Happy.' "
Ex-Priest Convicted in Rape of Boy in BostonNew York Times, 8 February 2005 by Pam Belluck
AMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 7 - Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest who became a lightning rod for the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, was convicted on Monday of raping and assaulting a boy when he was a parish priest in suburban Boston in the 1980's.
Mr. Shanley, 74, was one of the few priests to face criminal charges in the scandal, and his conviction came in a case in which prosecutors relied almost solely on one accuser, who said he had repressed the memory of the abuse until reading a newspaper article about Mr. Shanley three years ago.
After deliberating for nearly 15 hours beginning last Thursday, the jury of seven men and five women pronounced Mr. Shanley guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault on a child. Judge Stephen A. Neel of Middlesex Superior Court revoked Mr. Shanley's bail and scheduled him to be sentenced on Feb. 15. He could face up to life in prison.
"It was very difficult," said one juror, Victoria Blier, 53, of Lexington. "There was no DNA, there was no direct corroboration, and that made it very difficult."
Ms. Blier, who owns a window treatment business, said the jury was persuaded by the prosecutor's argument that the accuser was credible because he had no selfish reason to pursue the criminal case since he had already received $500,000 in the settlement of a civil lawsuit against the church.
"I think the one central idea that seemed to be the most compelling to the most people was that the victim had nothing to gain by pursuing the criminal trial and everything to lose, because it was extremely painful," Ms. Blier said. "We tried to, but no one could come up with a convincing reason for why he would pursue this except for a sincere need for justice. He could walk, he could say, 'Listen, this is going to be too hard on my family,' and, 'Sorry, but I'm not going to pursue this' and no one would fault him."
As the verdict was read, Mr. Shanley stood straight and betrayed little emotion. His accuser, who spoke publicly about his accusations over the last three years but asked news organizations not to name him during the trial, stood in the first row, rocking back and forth with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face.
Now a 27-year-old firefighter, the accuser testified that Mr. Shanley would pull him out of Christian doctrine class beginning when he was 6 years old, and would orally and digitally rape him in the bathroom, the pews, the confessional and the rectory of St. Jean's Parish in Newton.
Mr. Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, had argued that what Mr. Shanley was accused of was logistically impossible given the layout and crowded nature of the church on Sunday mornings. Mr. Mondano also argued that the accuser had concocted the charges in order to prevail in his civil suit against the church.
The jury asked only one question of the judge during deliberations, requesting to see a journal that the accuser kept after he says he recovered his memories of abuse. The judge denied the request because although parts of the journal had been read at trial, the journal itself had not been entered into evidence.
Mr. Mondano said he would appeal and asserted that the prosecution's case was strikingly weak.
The prosecutors said Monday that they recognized what a difficult case they had to prove. The case had started with allegations from four accusers, at least three of whom were friends and classmates at St. Jean's. But before the trial started, charges relating to three of the accusers were dropped.
Midway through the trial, Judge Neel threw out a fifth charge against Mr. Shanley, involving allegations that he forced the accuser to perform oral sex on him. Then, in instructions to the jury, Judge Neel said there had been no direct evidence to support one of the accuser's central claims, that he had repeatedly been taken out of class.
"This was a tough case," Martha Coakley, the Middlesex district attorney, said after the verdict. "We know that there were several roadblocks in this case. They were many and they were obvious."
But "we knew that this was the perfect storm of the child abuse situation," Ms. Coakley said. "That was because we had a priest with a sexual predilection for young boys," she said. "He was clearly an authority figure and one who was well-loved. We had a priest who told his victims if he told what happened he would not be believed."
Ms. Coakley suggested that the main reason the three other accusers dropped out of the criminal prosecution was the information unearthed about them in the civil lawsuit in which all four of them received settlements last year.
Indeed, in his questioning, Mr. Mondano brought out the accuser's volatile home life as a child and his subsequent problems with alcohol, steroids and gambling, which he said clouded the accuser's credibility.
Mr. Mondano also suggested several motives for the accuser's pursuit of the criminal case. Beside shaping his accusations to match those of his friends, Mr. Mondano said, journal writings and one psychological session suggested the accuser might be an attention-seeker, someone who wants "to be a hero," perhaps particularly to law enforcement. Mr. Mondano noted that many of the accuser's friends and family members work in law enforcement, including his wife and a friend, who work for the agency investigating his case, the Newton Police Department.
Mr. Shanley had become something of a symbol of the clergy scandal, in part because he had a colorful and controversial history as a long-haired priest in the 1970's who ministered to troubled youths and spoke out in support of homosexuality. Church documents showed that archdiocesan officials allowed him to remain a priest even though they knew that he had said he supported sex between men and boys.
About two dozen people have accused Mr. Shanley of abuse, with allegations dating to the 1960's. Most of the allegations involved teenagers, not allegations of pedophilia.
Also in the courtroom was John Harris, 47, who said that he was raped by Mr. Shanley 26 years ago when he was sent to him for counseling because he had discovered he was gay.
"Finally it seems like somebody has heard us and it turned out to be a jury," said Mr. Harris, who received a settlement from the Boston Archdiocese in a civil suit.
One of Mr. Shanley's defenders, Paul Shannon, a longtime friend, said he felt "complete devastation" over the verdict. He called the accusations a "preposterous story" that he said was "mathematically impossible for Shanley to have done."
Many of the other priests accused of abuse have not faced criminal charges because the allegations against them occurred too long ago.
Ann Hagan Webb, an advocate for abuse victims, said she hoped the Shanley verdict would put pressure on legislators to change the law so other priests could be forced to stand trial.
"We need to make sure history doesn't repeat itself," Ms. Webb said.
Katie Zezima contributed reporting for this article.
2 Sides Finish at the Trial of Ex-Priest in Abuse CaseNew York Times, 4 February 2005 by Pam Belluck
AMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 3 - The lawyer for Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest accused of sexual abuse, told a jury in closing arguments on Thursday that the accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter, either had false memories of fictitious abuse or invented the accusations to win a suit.
"There isn't reasonable doubt in this case," the lawyer, Frank Mondano, said. "There is massive doubt in this case."
The prosecutor countered in her closing that the lack of specificity lent the accusations veracity.
"If it was all a lie, it would have been a better one," the prosecutor, Lynn Rooney, said. "If it was all made up, wouldn't it have been better scripted? Wouldn't there have been more detail?"
The jury began deliberating and went home after half an hour. Earlier, Judge Stephen A. Neel of Middlesex Superior Court, had instructed the seven men and five women on the jury that there was no direct evidence to support one of the accuser's main contentions, that as a boy he was sent out of his Christian doctrine class when he misbehaved.
Each incident that the accuser said he recollected involved being sent to the priest or being taken out of class by the priest for some reason. The accuser has said that he was orally and digitally raped from age 6 to 9, when he was sent to see Mr. Shanley or when Mr. Shanley would take him from class at St. Jean's Parish in Newton, a church that has closed. From ages 9 to 12, the accuser said, Mr. Shanley groped him in the church hallways.
The accuser has said he repressed molesting memories until the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church broke in 2002. He was an Air Force police officer in Colorado, and he has said that memories flooded back and that he had a wrenching emotional and physical reaction after his girlfriend read him a news article about a childhood friend who said he had also repressed memories of Mr. Shanley's abuse.
Mr. Mondano contends that the accuser tailored his account to echo the contentions of his friend and two other young men and cited documents that suggest that the accuser obtained a lawyer and planned a civil lawsuit within hours after he says he remembered being abused.
"He's in the depths of a great emotional upheaval, and this fellow finds a lawyer, finds a specialist, makes financial arrangement to return to Boston," Mr. Mondano said.
By the next morning, when the accuser saw an Air Force psychologist and requested a leave to go to Boston, he already had "a turnkey plan to go home and consult with his lawyer," Mr. Mondano said.
The accusations of the friend and two other classmates were originally part of the case. Before the trial, the prosecutors dropped the charges related to those three. All four men received financial settlements from the Archdiocese of Boston last year in their civil suits. The accuser received $500,000.
Ms. Rooney told the jury that because the accuser had received his payment, he had no motive to lie or even testify in the criminal case.
"He got that money over nine months ago, no strings attached," Ms. Rooney said. "What did he get from coming in here, the opportunity to get on the stand? He sustained long painful questions, and what did he get from it?"
Mr. Shanley, 74, once an outspoken long-haired priest known for his street ministry, listened quietly. This week, the judge threw out a rape charge, one of the five charges against him. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
The judge told jurors that they could not consider anything they might have heard about Mr. Shanley, who became a lightning rod in the scandal, prompting reports by 24 people.
The accuser, who has spoken publicly about his accusations several times but asked news organizations not to identify him by name during the trial, sat in the front row during closing arguments. Ms. Rooney repeated the central accusations, that Mr. Shanley molested the accuser in the church bathroom, the pews, the confessional and the rectory.
Mr. Mondano tried to spell out the flaws in the evidence, reminding them that testimony by two Christian doctrine teachers and four classmates did not establish that the accuser ever left class with Mr. Shanley and that the accuser's statements that he was abused in the confessional in second grade could not have been true because children did not go to confession until fourth grade.
Katie Zezima contributed reporting for this article.
Judge in Trial of Former Priest Drops 1 of 3 Child-Rape CountsNew York Times, 1st February 2005 by Katie Zezima
AMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 31 - A judge threw out one of three child-rape charges against a defrocked priest on Monday after a defense lawyer argued that prosecutors had not produced enough evidence to support the charge.
The judge, Stephen A. Neel of Middlesex Superior Court, will tell the jury not to decide whether the former priest, Paul R. Shanley, forced his accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter, to perform oral sex on him at least once from 1983 to 1989. Two counts of child rape, alleging that Mr. Shanley had orally and digitally assaulted the boy, and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 still stand. Mr. Shanley, 74, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The accuser, who has asked that his identity be withheld, says that Mr. Shanley pulled him out of Christian doctrine classes and molested him in the church bathroom, the pews, the church confessional and the rectory. The firefighter testified last week that Mr. Shanley "unzipped my pants" and, if he had to use the bathroom, would watch. He also testified that Mr. Shanley would sometimes "kneel down and try to teach me how to perform oral sex."
Mr. Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, argued that this did not support the accusation that the accuser performed oral sex on Mr. Shanley.
"There is absolutely not one scintilla of evidence in this case to support this indictment," Mr. Mondano said in court. Mr. Mondano contends that the accuser fabricated his story in early 2002 with three other men who had attended classes at the parish, St. Jean's in suburban Newton, to join a civil lawsuit filed against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. The accuser received a $500,000 settlement last year from the archdiocese. The prosecutor recently dropped the other three men from the criminal case.
The prosecution rested its case on Monday. The defense will begin its case on Wednesday or Thursday.
Early Legal Moves Are Focus in Abuse TrialNew York Times, 29 January 2005 by Pam Belluck
AMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 28 - A day after he says he recovered memories that he was abused by a priest, a 27-year-old man was talking to a lawyer about pursuing a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church, according to testimony and documents presented Friday in the criminal trial of the now-defrocked priest.
The testimony was brought out in the trial of Paul R. Shanley, who became a lightning rod in the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church that broke in Boston in early 2002. Mr. Shanley is accused of molesting the man when he was 6 to 12 years old by pulling him out of Christian doctrine classes at St. Jean's Parish in Newton and orally and digitally raping him.
Mr. Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, contends that the accuser concocted his accusations to join a lawsuit with three other men against the Archdiocese of Boston. Last year, the archdiocese paid the accuser, now a suburban Boston firefighter, $500,000 to settle the case. Since then, prosecutors have dropped the other three men from the criminal case, pursuing only the 27-year-old accuser's allegations.
On Friday, the jury heard testimony from a psychologist who examined the accuser on Feb. 12, 2002, when he was an Air Force policeman in Colorado.
The accuser says he remembered the sexual abuse on the afternoon of Feb. 11, 2002, when his girlfriend told him about a newspaper article that reported that one of his childhood friends had said he was molested by Mr. Shanley.
Mr. Mondano said the accuser had already talked with a lawyer before seeing the psychologist, John F. Drozd.
Dr. Drozd testified that he wrote in his records on Feb. 12, his initial interview with the accuser, that the accuser was requesting a leave to "consult with his attorney" in Boston and wanted to transfer to Boston, "so he can pursue a recent class action lawsuit against the perpetrator and the Archdiocese of Boston."
Dr. Drozd also said that two days later he wrote in his records that the accuser had "officially retained an attorney." The law firm's billing records indicate that the accuser became a client on Feb. 11, Mr. Mondano said.
The accuser has denied hiring a lawyer that early.
In his third day of testimony on Friday, he said that maybe the dates of the records were wrong or that perhaps Dr. Drozd mentioned a lawsuit in his records to help the accuser get a 10-day leave, which he said he wanted simply to visit friends in Boston, not to consult with a lawyer.
Dr. Drozd also testified that on Feb. 12 the accuser said that since recovering the memories of abuse he had "decreased appetite and a burning feeling in his stomach and nausea without vomiting," as well as "intense simultaneous emotions of anger, depression, rage, sadness and vulnerability."
Earlier Friday, Mr. Mondano asked the judge to declare a mistrial because the accuser twice sobbed and buried his face while on the stand. The judge denied the request.
On Friday, the accuser's wife, who was his girlfriend in 2002, also cried during her testimony, prompting the judge to call a brief recess.
The wife, who is 23, testified that when she told the accuser on the phone about the newspaper article three years ago, "he said he was going to be sick, he had to go, he couldn't talk."
She said that when he came to Boston a few days later, he woke up in the middle of the night.
"He was very agitated and restless," she said. "He soaked the sheets with sweat, and he got on the floor, curled up in a ball. He shook."
She said, "I tried to hold him but he wouldn't let me."
Accuser's Past Is Focus of Defense for Ex-PriestNew York Times, 28 January 2005 by Pam Belluck
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 27 - The man who says he was molested as a boy by Paul R. Shanley, a now-defrocked priest, acknowledged a series of problems under cross-examination on Thursday.
The accuser, a 27-year-old firefighter in suburban Boston, admitted that for years he had a serious alcohol habit, used large doses of steroids, gambled through a bookkeeper and had a volatile temper that caused problems in his personal and professional life.
Mr. Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, asked about the accuser's problems, including his statements that his mother severed most ties with him at age 3 and that his father disciplined him violently, in an effort to show that the accuser was not credible. Mr. Mondano was also trying to refute the accuser's contentions that Mr. Shanley caused the difficulties he had had in life.
The accuser, who says he was pulled out of Christian doctrine classes by Mr. Shanley and molested from age 6 to 12, has said he remembered the abuse only in 2002, after the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church in Boston became public and he was told about similar accusations made against Mr. Shanley by a childhood friend.
Mr. Mondano says the accuser concocted the accusations, collaborating with three other men who attended the same church in Newton, Mass., to win a civil suit they filed against the Archdiocese of Boston. The archdiocese settled that lawsuit last year with large payments to the men, including $500,000 to the accuser. Since then, prosecutors have dropped the other three men's accusations from the criminal case against Mr. Shanley, who is now charged with orally and digitally assaulting the lone remaining accuser.
"Did you drink to intoxication on a semiregular basis?" Mr. Mondano asked.
"Every day," the accuser said.
The man confirmed that he took steroids for eight years.
"In one instance you actually smuggled some of the steroids in from Mexico, correct?" Mr. Mondano asked.
"Correct," the accuser said.
"This was exclusively and totally related to Paul Shanley?" Mr. Mondano asked.
"Yes, poor self-image," the accuser said.
Mr. Mondano questioned the accuser's motives, suggesting that in addition to a monetary settlement, he was seeking a way to be discharged from the Air Force. The lawyer quoted medical records in which the accuser told a psychiatrist that he was going to try to leave the military. He was discharged two months later.
Citing the accuser's testimony that the stress of the recovered memories gave him a rash, Mr. Mondano pointed to medical records indicating a diagnosis of ringworm.
And Mr. Mondano said another motive might have been homophobia, citing a journal the accuser kept for his civil lawyers in 2002, in which he referred to Mr. Shanley using a pejorative term for "gay."
Mr. Mondano also suggested that the accuser was seeking publicity in 2002, when he gave several interviews to news organizations, allowing his name and photograph to be used. Mr. Mondano read a journal entry in which the accuser wrote that he was disappointed with an article in The New York Times because it referred to him only briefly.
Shortly before the criminal trial, the accuser asked news organizations to stop identifying him.
Mr. Mondano also questioned details of the accuser's accusations. He pointed out that on Sunday mornings when the accuser says he was pulled out of classes and molested in the bathroom, pews, confessional or rectory, there were many other people in the church, attending or preparing for one of three morning Masses.
The accuser said he recalled there being only one men's room in the church, yet he said he did not recall anyone else ever coming in to the bathroom while he was being molested. He said that Mr. Shanley would stand menacingly in the open bathroom door before molesting him, but he also acknowledged under questioning that the door was on a landing of the only staircase to the basement.
"So anybody that would be going down the stairs to get into the basement for any purpose would be walking right by the door where Shanley was standing, right?" Mr. Mondano said.
The accuser also acknowledged that the less invasive touching he says Mr. Shanley initiated from the time he was 9 until he was 12 - patting him through the front or back of his pants - would have happened in front of other people. So far, prosecution witnesses have said they did not see Mr. Shanley make such contact with any child, or take any child out of class.
During more than five hours of cross-examination Thursday, the accuser became combative at times, snapping at Mr. Mondano. Late in the afternoon, when Mr. Mondano asked about specific accusations of abuse, the accuser sobbed and buried his face in the crook of his arm. The judge called a recess.
Later, when the judge told the accuser that he would probably be needed for more testimony on Friday, the man said: "Please don't make me. I can't do this again."
Correction: January 29, 2005, Saturday:
Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about the sexual abuse trial of a former priest, Paul R. Shanley, misstated a word in an admission his accuser made under cross-examination. The accuser admitted that he had gambled through a bookmaker, not a bookkeeper.
New York Times, 27 January 2005 by Pam Belluck
Accuser Testifies at Trial of Ex-Priest in Abuse Case
AMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 26 - A 27-year-old who has accused a defrocked Boston priest of molesting him 20 years ago took the witness stand on Wednesday and testified that the defendant, Paul R. Shanley, sexually abused him in the church bathroom, the pews, a confession room and the rectory.
In the bathroom, the accuser testified, Mr. Shanley "unzipped my pants," and, "if I had to go to the bathroom, he'd watch me go to bathroom."
Then, he said, Mr. Shanley would touch him, and "sometimes he would kneel down and try to teach me how to perform oral sex."
The testimony from the sometimes-teary accuser, a barrel-chested firefighter in a Boston suburb, came on the second day of the trial of Mr. Shanley, who became a lightning rod when the sexual abuse scandal erupted three years ago in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.
In cross-examination, Mr. Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, tried to discredit the accuser by pointing out inconsistencies in his statements and memory and by suggesting that his history of other troubles, including problems with his parents and his behavior in high school, raised questions about his credibility.
"The point is, there were times when you had memories of things and other times when you have no memories of those same things," Mr. Mondano said.
The accuser, who several times became testy and argumentative with Mr. Mondano, answered that his memory "comes and goes."
About 24 people have accused Mr. Shanley, 74, of molesting them since the 1960's, most of them coming forward after the scandal broke. This is the sole time Mr. Shanley has faced a criminal trial.
The accuser was originally one of four men who made accusations in the case. Prosecutors recently dropped the charges of the other three. Mr. Mondano suggested that the accuser created his account after having talked with the others.
The prosecution case has not included witnesses who seem able to verify the accusations that Mr. Shanley pulled the accuser out of Sunday morning classes to molest him when he was 6 to 9 years old and groped him in the halls for three years after that.
A prosecution witness on Wednesday, a woman who taught the accuser in a second-grade doctrine class at the church, St. Jean the Evangelist Parish in Newton, seemed to lend support to the defendant's case.
The teacher, Ann Mari Rousseau, testified in cross-examination that on Sunday mornings the church, which closed a few years ago, bustled with people. People attended Masses at 8, 10 and 11:30 a.m., she said. Priests prepared for the Masses and chatted with parishioners. Lay leaders and choir members milled around, and parents dropped off children for the 8:50 doctrine classes and picked them up at 9:50.
"Sunday mornings were very hectic," Ms. Rousseau, now a minister in the United Church of Christ, said in testimony that seemed to raise doubts about whether a priest had time and opportunity to abuse a child.
"Would you say that there was a big pile of leisure time?" Mr. Mondano asked.
"No," Ms. Rousseau replied, "I would not say that there was any leisure time."
Ms. Rousseau also testified that Mr. Shanley never called children out of her class, that she never requested his help in dealing with children who needed discipline and that she never saw him alone with a child.
Mr. Shanley is charged with three counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery, accused of orally and digitally assaulting the boy. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. His lawyer has said the accuser was motivated by a civil suit he filed against the archdiocese, for which he received a $500,000 settlement last year.
The accuser has spoken publicly about his accusations several times in the last three years, but has asked news organizations not to identify him by name during the trial.
The accuser has said he recalled his years of abuse in 2002, after his girlfriend called him in Colorado, where he was an Air Force police officer, to tell him about a newspaper article on the abuse and Mr. Shanley. The accusations were first made by a childhood friend of the accuser who became one of the three people later dropped from the case.
The accuser said on Wednesday that he was so traumatized by his memories that "I felt like my world was coming to an end" and was unable to function in the Air Force.
In relatively short testimony about the accusations, he sniffled, teared up and covered his eyes with a hand.
Consistently referring to the priest as "Shanley," not "Father Paul," the name most parishioners seemed to use, the accuser said the abuse took several forms. Sometimes, he said, Mr. Shanley asked him to put pamphlets in the church pews and took him to a pew in the front and "put his right arm around me and start touching my penis."
Other times, he said, he was summoned to a confession room, where Mr. Shanley "used to undress me and he himself would get undressed and stand in front of the mirror and put his arm around me." Still other times, he said, Mr. Shanley took him to rectory to play a card game called war.
"Every time I lost a hand he'd tell me take off a piece of my clothes," the accuser said, adding, "I always lost."
Asked by the prosecutor, Lynn Rooney, what happened when his clothes were off, he said, "I'd somehow get on a winning streak, and he would take his clothes off."
Mr. Shanley, once a popular priest known in part for looking like a hippie in the 70's, when he ministered to street youths and spoke out against church restrictions on homosexuality, looked calmly at the accuser as he testified. On a lunch break, Mr. Shanley, wearing work boots with his suit and tie as a defense against a snow storm, walked around part of the courtroom, chatting on a cellphone.
Ms. Rooney's questions elicited troubled aspects of the accuser's background, including that he rarely saw his mother after his parents separated when he was 3 and that as a teenager he was kicked out of the house by his father because of steroid use. He testified that he slept in a park, a parking lot and a friend's basement.
Mr. Mondano brought out that the accuser had been repeatedly suspended from high school and that he had told a therapist that his mother had hit him with a wood spoon and that his father had slapped him or kicked him, discipline that he described as "physical abuse."
Ms. Rooney's questions also revealed what were apparently memory lapses. When she asked whether he remembered any other type of touching between him and Mr. Shanley, the accuser said he did not. Ms. Rooney showed him a page of a journal he kept, and asked, "Does that help you to remember whether there was any other type of touching?"
The man replied, "I see that I wrote it down, but I don't remember it right now."
Jury in Ousted Priest's Trial Is Told of Child-Rape CycleNew York Times, 26 January 2005 by Pam Belluck
AMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 25 - Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest at the center of the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, went on trial on Tuesday, with a prosecutor accusing him, in graphic detail, of repeatedly raping and abusing a boy over six years.
The prosecutor, Lynn Rooney, said Mr. Shanley, once considered an inspiring and charismatic priest, started pulling the boy out of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, or C.C.D., classes in 1983, when the boy was 6.
"That priest, this defendant, Paul Shanley, comes to that C.C.D. class and sexually molests that little boy in the church pews, in the church bathroom, in the rectory and in the room where Catholics go to confess their sins, the confessional," Ms. Rooney said in her opening argument. " 'If you tell, no one will believe you.' That is what the defendant said to that little boy over and over again."
Mr. Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, suggested that the accuser's account about remembering the abuse a dozen years after it happened was not credible and might have been coaxed by lawyers looking for clients in lawsuits against priests accused of abuse. Last April, the Archdiocese of Boston paid a legal settlement of $500,000 to the accuser, Ms. Rooney said Tuesday.
"The vilification of Paul Shanley was orchestrated by the personal-injury lawyers in this case," Mr. Mondano said. "This case is after all about two things: old memories and really, really, really old memories."
The Shanley case has drawn widespread attention, in part because of his colorful history as a long-haired priest in the 1970's, ministering to street youth and publicly rejecting some church teachings, including the condemnation of homosexuality.
In addition, thousands of pages of church documents released after the scandal erupted in Boston in 2002 revealed that high-ranking church officials vouched for Mr. Shanley's character and allowed him to continue working as a priest, even though he had been accused of sexual abuse.
Of the dozens of priests implicated in the scandal, Mr. Shanley, who turned 74 on Tuesday, is one of the few to face criminal charges, partly because many of the accusations involving other priests happened too long ago to be prosecuted.
At least two dozen people have accused him of sexual abuse since the 1960's, many of them teenagers at the time the abuse is said to have occurred. In the criminal case, prosecutors had initially filed charges based on the accusations of four young men who said Mr. Shanley abused them when they were young, when he was a priest at St. Jean's Parish in Newton, a Boston suburb.
But recently, the Middlesex County district attorney's office decided not to prosecute charges related to three of the accusers, leaving only the accusations of a 27-year-old Newton man. The man, now a Newton firefighter, said he had suppressed the memory of the abuse for years, recalling it only after the scandal broke in early 2002. At that time, he was an Air Force police officer in Colorado Springs, and his girlfriend called from Boston to tell him of a newspaper article about accusations against Mr. Shanley by a childhood friend with whom the man had gone to church.
The accuser has spoken publicly about his assertions over the past three years, but has asked news organizations not to name him during the trial.
Mr. Shanley, bespectacled and with sparse white hair, is charged with three counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery, accused of orally and digitally assaulting the boy. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The first day of the trial, before a jury of eight men and eight women, with four alternates to be selected later, hinted at the complexity of both prosecuting and defending this type of case, in which there were no witnesses and both defendant and accuser appear to have redeeming and incriminating character traits.
Mr. Shanley, for example, who sat quietly taking notes on Tuesday, was a much-loved priest. Even a Christian doctrine teacher who testified for the prosecution said on Tuesday that "you could go to him for anything."
Ms. Rooney said: "Father Paul, he was adored. Father Paul, everyone loved him. Father Paul, the heart and soul of St. Jean's Parish. But there is another side to Father Paul."
Mr. Mondano sought to bring out the accuser's other side.
Under cross-examination by Mr. Mondano, the accuser's father acknowledged that his son, raised from an early age by his father after a divorce, had feelings of frustration and bitterness stemming from a troubled relationship with his mother. He also acknowledged that his son used steroids during high school, and Mr. Mondano suggested that the accuser might have continued to take the drugs well into adulthood. Mr. Mondano also indicated that the accuser had claimed he was kicked by his father when he took report cards home, but the father said that he had kicked his son only once and that was for something else.
Ms. Rooney suggested that the erratic or troubled parts of the accuser's background could have been influenced by the abuse he had suffered. Showing the jury a smiling photograph of the accuser as a boy, she said Mr. Shanley would sometimes send the boy to the bathroom.
"He would stand there with his arms raised and he looked larger than life to this little boy," Ms. Rooney said. "And when he would go to the bathroom, the defendant would watch and he wouldn't let him zipper his pants back up."
Other times in the rectory, Ms. Rooney said, Mr. Shanley would engage the boy in "a card game called war, and the defendant would say 'You lose, take off your clothes.' "
Mr. Mondano cited what he called inconsistency in what the accuser said he recalled. He said that in February 2002 the accuser started a journal to record his recollections for his lawyers.
"In his journal he wrote 'I have this vague memory of my being made to perform oral sex,' " Mr. Mondano said. Three months later, in an interview with the district attorney's office, he showed "no equivocation at all," Mr. Mondano said. Then, in his deposition for the civil lawsuit, "he was asked about the incident and said 'I have no memory of that.' He forgot, he remembered, he forgot."
Ms. Rooney said that after the accuser remembered being abused, he was so traumatized that he could no longer function at his Air Force job, and that after a stay in a mental hospital, "his military career is over."
Katie Zezima contributed reporting for this article.
National Briefing | New England: Massachusetts: Some Charges Dropped In Priest's Abuse Trial
The prosecutors dropped a number of criminal charges at the start of the trial of Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest who was a central figure in the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Boston Roman Catholic Archdiocese. The prosecutors dropped charges related to one of four men who had originally accused Mr. Shanley of raping them, leaving one man to testify. The prosecution dropped charges involving the two other accusers in July. Mr. Shanley, 73, was indicted in June 2002 in the rape of four boys at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Newton from 1979 to 1989. Four jurors were chosen on the first day of jury selection. Katie Zezima (NYT)