Priest at Center of Scandal Arrested

Sex abuse: The criminal charges were the first to be filed against the Rev. Paul Shanley, who has been the focus of a civil lawsuit against the Boston archdiocese

Los Angeles Times/May 2, 2002

Boston -- A Roman Catholic priest who allegedly advocated sex between men and boys was arrested this morning in San Diego on three counts of rape of a child, officials said.

The arrest of the Rev. Paul Shanley, one of the priests at the center of the Boston church abuse scandal, was announced by Emily LaGrasse, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney's Office. San Diego police spokesman Dave Cohen confirmed the arrest.

The alleged victim, now 24, made the accusation to the district attorney's office this week, LaGrassa said.

Officials allege that Shanley raped the victim between 1983 and 1990 at St. Jean Parish in Newton.

Documents released a month ago archdiocese officials had received reports of Shanley's attendance at a 1979 meeting in Boston at which the North American Man Boy Love Association was apparently created. And, despite receiving dozens of allegations of abuse, officials did not warn a California diocese when Shanley moved there in 1990.

Last week, the archdiocese released an additional 800 pages of records in the case. They included Shanley's own writings on his life as a street priest, including how he frequently visited clinics for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Gregory Ford, 24, and his parents Paula and Rodney, are suing the archdiocese and Cardinal Bernard Law for negligence for allowing Shanley to be posted to the Newton parish where Ford was allegedly repeatedly abused and raped as a child.

The family is seeking the release still more records: Shanley's psychiatric and other medical assessments that were ordered by the Roman Catholic archdiocese during his tenure.

Attorney Frank Mondano, who represents Shanley, said Wednesday that his client never waived his right to keep psychiatric and other medical assessments private. He also said the archdiocese never had the records, though they are referenced in archdiocese correspondence.

Shanley, 71, has issued no public statements since the case began.

A call to Mondano today seeking comment on the arrest was not immediately returned.

Shanley, who was ordained in 1960, served as a street priest until 1979. He was transferred to the San Bernardino Diocese in 1990. While serving as a pastor part-time, he also owned a hotel that catered to gays in Palm Springs, Calif.

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