January 04, 2005

Case against ex-priest down to one alleged victim

Boston Herald

By Associated Press
Tuesday, January 4, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Prosecutors are dropping more charges against a priest accused in one of the most lurid cases to come out of the clergy sex abuse sandal, leaving only one of four alleged victims to testify at his upcoming trial, a source close to the case told The Associated Press.

The criminal case against defrocked priest Paul Shanley, which once had four young men set to testify that Shanley raped them as children, was long considered a slam-dunk for prosecutors. The men all claimed Shanley raped them repeatedly between 1979 and 1989 when they were altar boys at St. Jean the Evangelist Parish in Newton.

But now, with only one alleged victim left, some legal observers say the case against the priest who came to symbolize the scandal appears to be substantially weakened.

All four of the men said they did not remember Shanley raping them until years later when they recovered memories of the abuse after seeing news reports about the clergy sex abuse scandal that engulfed the Boston Archdiocese. Shanley's defense lawyer said he may call Elizabeth Loftus, a renowned psychologist who has challenged claims of repressed memories of sexual abuse, to testify at the trial.

Posted by kshaw at January 4, 2005 02:05 PM