January 25, 2005

Opening statements set for trial against defrocked priest

The Dallas Morning News

07:30 AM CST on Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The allegations of a single accuser could determine the fate of one of the highest-profile figures to go to trial in the Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal.

Paul Shanley, 73, faces three charges of raping a child and two charges of indecent assault and battery on a child. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

Opening statements were to be delivered Tuesday in the case, which was expected to last about two weeks. A jury of eight men and eight women was selected last week.

One of the alleged victims, now 27, says Shanley raped him repeatedly at St. Jean's parish in Newton between 1983 and 1989, beginning when he was 6 years old. Prosecutors said they plan to call the man's father and wife to testify.

Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, has said he will argue that the accuser made up his story after the scandal erupted several years ago. All of Shanley's alleged victims settled lawsuits with the Boston Archdiocese in April 2004. Shanley was defrocked by the Vatican last year.

Posted by kshaw at January 25, 2005 08:23 AM