February 07, 2005

Jury: Shanley Guilty Of Child Rape


POSTED: 11:48 am EST February 7, 2005
UPDATED: 4:38 pm EST February 7, 2005

BOSTON -- After three days of deliberations, a jury found defrocked priest Paul Shanley guilty of two charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 Monday.

Shanley showed no emotion as the unanimous verdict was read in a Middlesex Superior courtroom. Shanley still awaits sentencing, but the verdict could leave him in prison for the rest of his life.

The jury began deliberating Shanley's fate Thursday afternoon.

The case against Shanley, 74, hinged solely on the account of one unidentified accuser, now 27, who said that memories of abuse came flooding back a few years ago.

The defense criticized the concept of "repressed memories," and questioned the alleged victim's motive, noting he settled his civil case last spring for about $500,000. The defense called one witness, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, from the University of California at Irvine who testified that she doesn't believe that there is any evidence that the victim has repressed memories about the alleged abuse.

"I don't believe there is any credible scientific evidence for the idea that years of brutalization can be massively repressed," Loftus said.

The defense said the accounts of another alleged victim influenced the accuser's memories.

Posted by kshaw at February 7, 2005 03:42 PM