January 28, 2005

Accuser of former priest breaks down on stand

The Seattle Times

By Denise Lavoie
The Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. After a grueling second day of intense and graphic questioning by a defense lawyer, the man who has accused defrocked priest Paul Shanley of raping him as a child cried on the witness stand yesterday and begged the judge not to force him to continue testifying.

"I can't do this again," the man said, his shoulders slumped and his head down as Shanley's attorney asked graphic questions about the nature of the alleged abuse. "I can't start over again."

At one point, the accuser who has asked not to be named publicly loudly sobbed as he clasped his hands behind his head and pressed his forehead against the rail of the witness stand.

Frank Mondano, Shanley's attorney, has spent the past two days seeking to undermine the accuser's credibility, grilling him about his troubled childhood, his abuse of alcohol and steroids, his gambling habit and his motivation for coming forward with what he says are repressed memories of the alleged abuse.

Mondano has said the man made up his story to cash in on the multimillion-dollar settlements paid to victims of abuse by priests in Boston's Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Indeed, the accuser last year received a $500,000 settlement from the Boston Archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2005 03:32 AM