January 31, 2005

Prosecutors wrap rape case against former Boston priest

Court TV

By Emanuella Grinberg
Court TV
EAST CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Prosecutors rested their child rape case against defrocked priest Paul Shanley by calling his accuser's Sunday School classmates, who offered the only testimony to corroborate the accuser's claims of abuse 15 years ago.

Four of his peers from catechism class at St. John's Parish in Newton, where Shanley was assigned in the 1980s, testified that the accuser was part of a "rowdy" group of boys often sent from class to visit Shanley for disciplinary action.

"The best word I can use is very chaotic, it was hard to pay attention," Kerry Lessard testified of the classroom environment.

"The three boys seemed to get in a lot of trouble," Christine Michelon said.

The three boys were all included in the indictment against Shanley in June 2002. In an effort to "streamline" the case, prosecutors dropped the other accusers from the indictment, letting stand just the charges pertaining to one accuser.

Posted by kshaw at January 31, 2005 08:34 PM