February 04, 2005

Shanley case goes to the jury

Boston Globe

By Joanna Weiss, Globe Staff | February 4, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- Paul R. Shanley's accuser is a victim overwhelmed with true memories of abuse by his parish priest, or he's a suggestible man who believes vivid stories that were planted in his mind.

He is a publicity-monger desperate for attention and reward, or he's a brave young man with a story to tell and nothing to gain but the truth.

It's now up to a Middlesex County jury to decide, as it debates whether Shanley, 74, repeatedly raped and abused the alleged victim in the early 1980s.

As lawyers delivered their closing arguments yesterday in Shanley's child rape trial in Middlesex Superior Court, it was the accuser who seemed more directly on trial: his life recounted, his motives questioned, his testimony examined. Both sides reminded jurors how the accuser had sobbed last week on the witness stand, but they offered different theories for those emotions.

The alleged victim, a 27-year-old firefighter, accuses Shanley of molesting him during Sunday school hours from ages 6 to 11, in the pews, rectory, confessional, and boys' room of St. Jean Church in Newton. The accuser says he forgot about the abuse, but remembered it in 2002, when he learned of Boston Globe stories about Shanley and a Sunday school classmate. Last year, he was awarded $500,000 in a civil settlement with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by kshaw at February 4, 2005 05:13 AM