January 08, 2005

Judge lifts ban on media naming alleged Shanley victims

Milford Daily News

By Associated Press
Saturday, January 8, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- A state judge yesterday overturned a ruling that had barred media from naming alleged victims in the child rape case against defrocked priest Paul Shanley, but gave prosecutors until Monday to file an appeal.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel's ruling is stayed until 1 p.m. Monday to allow prosecutors or others to appeal it. In the meantime, the media will continue to be banned from naming any alleged witnesses in the case.

Neel's ruling came several days after another judge, acting on a request by prosecutors who feared continuing to name the alleged victims would make them unwilling to testify, ordered media to stop identifying the men -- even those who had previously spoken out publicly about their allegations and had been identified in numerous articles for several years.

The Associated Press, The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald appealed the ruling, contending it was an unconstitutional "prior restraint."

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

The Associated Press has a policy of not identifying rape victims without their consent.

Posted by kshaw at January 8, 2005 04:43 AM