January 25, 2005

Lawyers deliver openings in trial of disgraced priest accused of child rape

Court TV

By Emanuella Grinberg
Court TV

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Prosecutors in the case against defrocked priest Paul Shanley told jurors Tuesday he repeatedly molested a young parishioner in the rectory, the confessional and the pews of his church in the 1980s.

Three years after Shanley was indicted on sex-abuse charges stemming from multiple accusers, his trial opened in Middlesex County Superior Court on his 74th birthday.

Shanley faces life in prison on three counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery.

Prosecutors now are launching their case against the disgraced clergyman with only one accuser, who claims he was 6 years old when Shanley first took him out of his Sunday school class to abuse him in various locations throughout St. John the Evangelist Parish in Newton, Mass.

"He is threatened, afraid. He knows the priest will come," Deputy District Attorney Lynn Rooney said in her opening statements. "'If you tell, no one will believe you.' That is what the defendant said to the 6-year-old."

"He didn't tell for almost 20 years," Rooney said. "But now that little boy is a man."

Pacing before a picture of the smiling young boy projected onto a screen, Rooney described alleged incidents of oral and anal sex between Shanley and the boy in the parish bathrooms, in the rectory and in the confession box. ...

Defense lawyer Frank Mondano, however, claimed in his opening statement that the prospect of netting a civil settlement from the Boston Archdiocese was the force that drove the accuser's so-called "memories" to the surface.

Mondano called the claims "orchestrations of personal injury lawyers" who led Shanley's accuser and some 550 others to reap civil settlements from the Boston Archdiocese in 2002 and 2004. Shanley's accuser received $500,000.

"This case is about two things: old memories and really old memories," Mondano told jurors.

Posted by kshaw at January 25, 2005 05:47 PM