January 27, 2005

Accuser Challenged in Priest Child Rape Trial


By Greg Frost | January 27, 2005

BOSTON (Reuters) - The lone accuser in the child rape trial of defrocked priest Paul Shanley pleaded with a judge to spare him more of the stinging interrogation that left him sobbing in court on Thursday.

A day after tearfully testifying how Shanley raped and molested him decades ago, the 27-year-old firefighter admitted under intense cross-examination he had abused steroids and alcohol and had a gambling problem. He also said he came from a broken home and was repulsed by homosexual acts.

Armed with piles of depositions and evidence culled from a civil lawsuit that netted the accuser $500,000 in a settlement last year, defense attorney Frank Mondano picked apart the man's background -- apparently to cast doubt on his motives and lessen his credibility in the eyes of the jury.

By the end of the day, the accuser was pleading with Judge Stephen Neel to allow him not to return for a third day of cross-examination. Mondano said if the man did not return, there might be sufficient grounds for a mistrial.

Shanley played a central role in the abuse scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and enveloped other dioceses. The Vatican defrocked Shanley last year, more than two decades after his superiors learned of the priest's views on sex between men and boys.

Internal church documents released in 2002 showed the Boston Archdiocese knew in 1979 that Shanley had attended a meeting of men involved in sexual relationships with male youngsters -- a meeting that gave rise to NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association.

Posted by kshaw at January 27, 2005 08:21 PM