February 13, 2005

Niece says she fears prison for Shanley

Boston Globe

By John Ellement, Globe Staff | February 13, 2005

Teresa Shanley won't be there Tuesday when her 74-year-old uncle, defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley, is sentenced for sexually abusing a Newton Sunday school student in the 1980s. But she expects he will probably be sentenced to prison, and she fears that could get him killed.

She worries that her uncle is in danger of ending up like John J. Geoghan, a convicted former priest strangled inside a maximum-security prison in 2003. ''No more children for you, pal," fellow inmate Joseph L. Druce allegedly told Geoghan as he tightened a noose around his neck.

''I'm very concerned in light of what happened to John Geoghan," Theresa Shanley said. ''If [Shanley] is sent to prison, it is the burden of the Commonwealth to keep him safe."

Some who monitor the state prison system say she has reason to be concerned.

''There's no question that that's a reasonable concern, particularly in light of what happened to Father Geoghan and what is generally a fairly high level of violence in the Massachusetts prison system," said Jonathan Shapiro, whose law firm is suing the state on behalf of 25 inmates at the medium-security prison in Shirley who say guards abused them in 2000.

Teresa Shanley will be undergoing a major medical procedure Tuesday.

Posted by kshaw at February 13, 2005 06:19 AM