January 28, 2005

Judge denies mistrial in U.S. priest child rape case


by Greg Frost
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - A Massachusetts judge refused to declare a mistrial on Friday in the child rape trial of defrocked priest Paul Shanley, saying he would instruct jurors to disregard an accuser's emotional outburst.

After intense cross-examination on Thursday that left the accuser sobbing, Shanley's defense attorney Frank Mondano asked Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel to declare a mistrial on the grounds that the outpouring of emotion would compromise the jury's impartiality.

But Neel rejected the motion, saying such outbursts are "unavoidable" in cases like this and "rarely" the basis for declaring a mistrial.

Neel said he would instruct jurors to disregard the accuser's emotions during their deliberations.

Prosecutor Lynn Rooney said she was outraged by Mondano's request, suggesting that his tough line of questioning on Thursday contributed to the accuser's breakdown on the witness stand.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2005 01:01 PM