February 11, 2005

Justice, victims not served by defrocked priest's conviction

Duluth News Tribune


If there's anyone who thinks the conviction of defrocked Boston priest Paul Shanley on child rape charges Monday is a cause for great celebration, take a look at the evidence. And that means all the evidence, which unfortunately, the jury never got the chance to see.

In one of the highest-profile cases in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal -- and because of statute of limitation laws, one of only a handful to go to trial -- the former priest was convicted of repeatedly yanking a Sunday-schooler out of classes and raping him during the 1980s.

Actually, that's the latest version of the criminal case, which began three years ago when four young men who had been classmates at a Newton, Mass., parish filed criminal charges against Shanley. At least two of their cases hinged on repressed memories, which the accusers said flooded back to them after they saw a newspaper article naming Shanley as the alleged abuser of teens and young adults who had sought out the priest for counseling.

Before anyone goes there, know that repressed memories can indeed be real, as proved by Frank Fitzpatrick, a Massachusetts man who after recalling the horror he endured as a child scoured the country until he tracked down in Minnesota the former priest who eventually admitted raping dozens of kids. Remember James Porter?

Posted by kshaw at February 11, 2005 12:24 PM