In diary, priest accused of abuse admits having VD

Also writes of teaching kids how 'to shoot up'

CNN News/April 26, 2002

Boston, Massachusetts -- A Roman Catholic priest admits having venereal disease and helping young people use drugs in a excerpts from his diary that were among documents turned over to attorneys representing people suing the Church over sexual abuse allegedly suffered at his hands.

"Much of my life these last few years has been choosing not twixt good and evil, but the less of the two evils ... my God, I've even taught kids to shoot up properly," the Rev. Paul Shanley writes.

In another section, he says, "One of the first things I do in a new city is to sign up at the local clinic for help with my VD."

There is no indication how Shanley contracted the disease, or whether he was ill with it before being ordained as a priest in 1960.

At a news conference, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys responded angrily to the revelations.

"These are the writings of a perverted monster who was sent out into the field unsupervised to be with alienated youth, with children," said attorney Roderick MacLeish.

MacLeish, who projected page after page of the documents on a screen, said he hadn't had time to review them all, totaling about 800 pages.

"What we have are Paul Shanley's own perverted ramblings about his conduct in the 1970s when he was serving as a street priest. We have more warnings about Paul Shanley," MacLeish said.

Shanley, who worked with troubled youths while in Boston, is now retired and living in San Diego.

The documents also show that church leaders were worried about allegations that Shanley spoke at the opening session of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, known as NAMBLA, which advocates sexual interaction between men and boys.

The Archdiocese of Boston turned the documents over Thursday to the attorneys for Greg Ford and his family. Ford alleges he was molested by Shanley between the ages of 6 and 11.

The release of the documents, as well as the recent conviction of another former Boston-area priest, John Geoghan, who is accused of abusing 130 children over 30 years, has fueled calls for the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law, the archdiocese leader since 1984.

MacLeish made the first batch of documents from the diocese public in early April, after the archdiocese lost a bid for a gag order to prevent anyone from speaking about them.

A court had ordered that the files be turned over to the Ford lawyers.

The records indicated that as allegations against Shanley mounted, he was moved from parish to parish rather than being removed from his ministry.

At a news conference Wednesday, the Rev. Chris Coyne said the latest documents were discovered earlier this week at the chancery, the office that performs secretarial services for the bishop.

Coyne said it was "terribly embarrassing" that the files had just been found.

MacLeish was not convinced that all files have been turned over.

"We have zero confidence that we have all the records that were responsive to the court order," MacLeish said about the discovery.

MacLeish has alleged that at least 30 youths were abused by Shanley.

One of Shanley's attorneys said he hasn't had a chance to review the files released Thursday. Shanley has never commented on the allegations against him and hasn't been seen publicly since the scandal broke.

On Wednesday, at the close of a meeting between Pope John Paul II and U.S. cardinals, including Law, the cardinals issued a statement saying they would seek to dismiss any "notorious" priest found guilty of "serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors."

But the statement did not endorse a "zero-tolerance policy" -- in which no instance of molestation would be tolerated.

Rodney Ford, the father of Greg Ford, called the communiqué "insulting," saying the cardinals "really didn't accomplish much toward settling any of the cases with the victims, or even reaching out with an apology."

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