January 07, 2005

Alleged abuse victim may not testify if ID'd

MetroWest Daily News

By Ken Maguire / Associated Press
Friday, January 7, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- Prosecutors told a judge yesterday that an alleged victim of defrocked priest Paul Shanley might refuse to testify if he's publicly identified during the upcoming sexual abuse trial.

That would mean the end of the criminal case against one of the most notorious figures in the Boston Archdiocese's sex abuse scandal, Assistant District Attorney Lynn Rooney said.

The disclosure came during a hearing in Middlesex Superior Court on whether the media should be allowed to report the alleged victim's name during Shanley's criminal trial. Several news organizations have challenged an order issued earlier this week barring the media from identifying alleged victims in the case.

In the three years since Shanley was arrested on child rape and indecent assault and battery charges, two of the alleged victims who have spoken publicly about the case and were routinely identified in news reports. A third alleged victim has occasionally been identified, but a fourth was never named.

Since bringing charges involving four alleged victims, prosecutors have since dropped charges so that just two victims remain as they prepare for a Jan. 18 start date to the trial.

Rooney said yesterday that one of those two would also be dropped from the case, leaving just one alleged Shanley victim to testify against him.

"If there's a paper later today that puts this person's name out there ... it is likely I will be back before the court telling you that we are unable to go forward," Rooney told Judge Stephen Neel during the hearing.

Posted by kshaw at January 7, 2005 05:27 AM