January 29, 2005

Shanley accuser concludes testimony

Boston Globe

By Joanna Weiss, Globe Staff | January 29, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- A day after he pleaded with a judge not to make him return to the witness stand, the man who accuses defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley of sexually abusing him as a child came back to court yesterday to complete his testimony, submitting to the final hour of what was a grueling cross-examination.

The strongest emotions yesterday came from a different witness: the accuser's wife, who broke down while recounting her husband's behavior in February 2002, when he allegedly began remembering years of abuse by Shanley at St. Jean Parish in Newton.

Asked to recall the first night of a visit home from her husband, who was then her fiancé and was stationed by the Air Force in Colorado, the 23-year-old woman began to cry. She clutched a tissue and, in a near whisper, said, ''I'm so sorry."

Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Neel asked her to stop and sent the jury from the room, the second day in a row the judge halted proceedings so a witness could regain composure. When court resumed, she continued her testimony, still sobbing softly.

''He had soaked the sheets with sweat," she said. ''He got on the floor, curled up in a ball. He shook."

Posted by kshaw at January 29, 2005 06:19 AM