February 15, 2005

Priest sentenced for rape of boy

The Australian

By Greg Frost in Cambridge
February 16, 2005
A JUDGE sentenced defrocked priest Paul Shanley to 12 to 15 years in prison today for his child rape conviction in one of the most high-profile cases to stem from a US Catholic clergy abuse scandal.

After Shanley's accuser described the former priest in court as a "monster," "pervert" and "the lowest of the low," Judge Stephen Neel ordered 74-year-old Shanley to serve time in prison, followed by a decade of probation.

There was scattered applause as Shanley, wearing leg irons, was escorted from the packed courtroom. Afterward, his victims expressed relief.

"For the last week, for the first time in 35 years I've slept through the night," Arthur Austin, who alleges Shanley abused him as a young adult but was not one of the accusers in the ex-priest's criminal case. "I don't have to be afraid anymore."

Judge Neel said Shanley would be eligible for parole after completing two-thirds of his sentence, but Frank Mondano, Shanley's defence lawyer, said he was worried Shanley could die in prison "given his age and frailty."

Posted by kshaw at February 15, 2005 12:27 PM