February 03, 2005

Ex-Priest's Child Rape Trial Goes to Jury


Thu Feb 3, 2005 04:20 PM ET

By Greg Frost CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - The defense attorney for Paul Shanley, the defrocked U.S. Catholic priest accused of child rape, said Thursday there was "massive doubt" about what occurred two decades ago and called for the jury to acquit him.

In closing arguments of the trial of Shanley, a central figure in a U.S. Catholic Church abuse scandal, attorney Frank Mondano said the accuser may have lied about events at a Boston-area church, but the prosecution contended there was no doubt the boy was molested "again and again and again."

"There isn't reasonable doubt in this case. There's massive doubt in this case," Mondano said in his closing arguments, in which he cast doubt on the memory and motives of the sole accuser in the criminal trial.

The jury retired to consider its verdict Thursday afternoon.

Shanley, the 74-year-old former priest, was indicted in 2002 on charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child. Prosecutors dropped most of the charges because three of the original four accusers either would not testify or could not be found.

The only remaining charges relate to a 27-year-old firefighter who last week took the witness stand and tearfully told of being raped and molested in the 1980s -- memories he says he repressed until they came flooding back as a clergy sex scandal rocked the Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by kshaw at February 3, 2005 06:31 PM