January 28, 2005

Defence on the attack in U.S. priest trial


By Greg Frost
BOSTON (Reuters) - The lone accuser in the child rape trial of defrocked priest Paul Shanley has broken down in tears and had to briefly leave court after facing a withering assault of barbed questions about his background.

A day after he wept as he testified how Shanley raped and molested him decades ago, the 27-year-old firefighter admitted under intense cross-examination on Thursday that he abused steroids and alcohol, had a gambling problem, came from a broken home and is repulsed by homosexual acts.

Armed with piles of depositions and evidence culled from a civil lawsuit that netted the accuser $500,000 (265,000 pounds) in a settlement last year, defence attorney Frank Mondano picked apart the man's background -- apparently in an effort to question his motives and lessen his credibility in the eyes of the jury.

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 that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston 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 28, 2005 03:45 AM