January 19, 2005

Time frame critical in abuse trial

Chicago Tribune

By Elizabeth Mehren
Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
Published January 19, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Jury selection began Tuesday in the criminal trial of defrocked Roman Catholic priest Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the Boston clerical sexual abuse scandal.

Shanley, 73, is charged with child rape, as well as indecent assault and assault and battery. The alleged crimes took place in the 1980s in nearby Newton, where Shanley was a popular parish priest.

The time frame of the alleged incidents is critical.

Scores of priests in the Boston archdiocese have been accused of molesting children over at least four decades, and many of those charges were validated in church documents. The once-confidential records showed that church officials knew about abuse complaints and moved priests from parish to parish rather than reassign them to jobs where they would not have to work with children.

Most of the priests managed to avoid criminal trials because the alleged crimes occurred so long ago that the statute of limitations had run out.

Posted by kshaw at January 19, 2005 07:41 AM