January 31, 2005

Prosecutors wrap up case against defrocked priest Shanley


By Denise Lavoie
12:55 p.m. January 31, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Prosecutors wrapped up their case against defrocked priest Paul Shanley on Monday after a psychologist testified that it is not uncommon for adults who suffer trauma as children to repress memories of the experience.

Shanley's accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter, says he remembered in early 2002 that he had been repeatedly raped and molested by the former priest from 1983 to 1989 at a parish outside Boston. Shanley's lawyer has questioned the science behind repressed memory.

The condition is "not common, but it's not at all rare," said prosecution witness Dr. James Chu, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

He said repressed memory is more common among people who suffered repeated trauma as children than in those who suffered a single traumatic event.

Under cross-examination by Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, Chu acknowledged that there is an intense debate within the psychiatric community about the validity of repressed memories. He also conceded that false memories can be implanted in a person's mind through repeated suggestions by someone they trust.

Posted by kshaw at January 31, 2005 05:49 PM