February 23, 2005

. . . So do better laws

Boston Herald

By Boston Herald editorial staff
Tuesday, February 22, 2005

``You are a coward who hid behind God. Your robe, nor your wit nor your charm make you infallible. . . I believe true justice will find you after your time on earth is spent.'' - Wife of a victim of the Rev. Paul Shanley

Justice of the man-made variety has been done in the case of predator priest Paul R. Shanley. But if not for a quirk in the statute of limitations for sex crimes, the victim, no matter how courageous, could never have faced his abuser in court or had his painful story validated by the judgment of a jury.

The argument for eliminating these artificial crime clocks is that simple.

Shanley will serve 12 to 15 years in prison, eligible for parole in his 80s, but likely held under the civil sexually dangerous law for the rest of his life. This evil human being will never harm another child.

But he would never have served a day behind bars had he not left the state in 1990, effectively stopping the clock before the 15-year statute of limitations for rape of a child ran out.

Posted by kshaw at February 23, 2005 08:51 AM