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Priest Raped Boy In Church

THE most notorious figure in a sex scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church's Boston Archdiocese has been convicted of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy in church.
The conviction on all four charges arising from abuse in the 1980s gives prosecutors an important victory in their effort to bring pedophile priests to justice for decades of abuse around the United States.
Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, 74, faces life in prison for two counts each of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child when he is sentenced next week.
He showed no emotion at the verdicts as he stood in court.
The victim, now 27, put his head down and sobbed as the verdicts were announced after a trial that turned on the reliability of what he claimed were recovered memories of abuse.
The jury deliberated for 13 hours over three days.
During the trial, the accuser broKe down on the stand as he testified in graphic detail that Shanley pulled him out of Sunday morning catechism classes and molested him in the bathroom, the rectory, the confessional and the pews. The abuse started when he was 6 and continuing for six years.
"He told me nobody would ever believe me if I told anybody," he testified.
The accuser said he repressed his memories of the abuse but they came flooding back three years ago, triggered by news coverage of the scandal that began in Boston and soon engulfed the church worldwide.
Now a firefighter in suburban Boston, he was one of at least two dozen men who said they had been molested by Shanley.
The archdiocese's own records showed that church officials knew Shanley publicly advocated sex between men and boys, yet continued to transfer him from parish to parish.
District Attorney Martha Coakley praised the victim's courage and perseverance.
She said he was driven by the sense that "if I don't do it, nobody will". Prosecutors said the young man had no financial motivation in accusing Shanley of rape in the criminal case because he received a $653,000 settlement. Rodney Ford, whose son Greg was one of three accusers dropped from the case, called the verdict "a relief for my son and all the other victims".
"The validation that all the victims of Paul Shanley must feel today must be unbelievable," Mr Ford said.
Frank Mondano, Shanley's lawyer, said he will appeal.In a statement yesterday, the archdiocese said: "It is important for the Archdiocese of Boston, in this moment, to again apologise for the crimes and harm perpetrated against children by priests who held the trust of families and the community."

Adelaide Avdertiser (9-2-2005)
Denise Lavoie

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