January 19, 2005

Jury selection begins in trial of ex-priest

Boston Globe

By Ralph Ranalli, Globe Staff | January 19, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- Jury selection began yesterday in the child rape trial of former Catholic priest Paul R. Shanley as prospective jurors were questioned about the clergy abuse scandal and their exposure to pretrial publicity.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, formally dropped a third accuser from the case yesterday, leaving just one of the original four alleged victims to testify against the defrocked priest. Shanley, 73, is one of the few priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to face criminal charges.

One prospective juror, a man who appeared to be in his early 50s, said he experienced the same feelings others felt reading the barrage of news stories about the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by priests.

"It's what we've all experienced over the last three years," he told Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel. "I have this slant now where I just look at the archdiocese and I shake my head."

Despite that statement -- and the fact that his brother-in-law was a juror in the trial of defrocked priest John Geoghan -- Neel ruled that the man could be impartial. The man was excluded from the jury, however, by Shanley's defense lawyer, Frank Mondano.

Posted by kshaw at January 19, 2005 08:00 AM