January 29, 2005

Accuser's wife testifies against priest


Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The wife of the man who has accused defrocked priest Paul Shanley of raping him as a child testified Friday that he had night sweats and curled up in the fetal position on the floor after recovering memories of the alleged abuse.

The woman took the witness stand shortly after her husband finished more than 10 hours of testimony over three days, much of it under grueling and graphic cross-examination by Shanley's attorney.

The man returned to the stand Friday morning despite begging the judge a day earlier to spare him further questioning. That had raised the possibility the case would collapse, since he is the lone accuser in the case against the 74-year-old former priest, one of the central figures in the Boston Archdiocese's clergy sex abuse scandal. Three other Shanley accusers were dropped from the case earlier by prosecutors.

Before the jury entered the courtroom, Shanley attorney Frank Mondano asked Judge Stephen Neel to declare a mistrial, contending the man's emotional outbursts during his testimony would taint jurors and prejudice them against his client. Neel rejected the request.

The accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter, says Shanley raped and molested him at a Newton parish, beginning when he was 6. He says he didn't remember the abuse until early 2002, when he heard a friend's account of being abused as a boy by Shanley.

Posted by kshaw at January 29, 2005 06:08 AM