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Shanley lawyers ask court to keep priests psychiatric records private
By Robert O'Neill, Associated Press, 05/01/02
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Lawyers for the Rev. Paul Shanley argued Wednesday that the former Newton priest's medical records should not be turned over to a family that has accused the Roman Catholic priest of sexual abuse.
Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who is representing a family whose son was allegedly raped by Shanley, is requesting psychiatric and other medical assessments of Shanley that were ordered by the archdiocese.
Shanley's attorney, Frank Mondano, argued that Shanley never waived his right to keep psychiatric and other medical assessments private.
Mondano also argued that the archdiocese was never in possession of the records themselves even though they were referenced in archdiocese correspondence. He did not say how archdiocese officials knew about their contents.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders was examining some of Shanley's records and said she expected to rule as early as next week on whether to release them.
She could also order them withheld or hold further hearings. She left open the possibility that Shanley might appear at those hearings or be deposed.
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.
"I've been looking for the truth and we're not going to stop until we get to the truth," Rodney Ford said after Wednesday's hearing. "No matter who we have to speak to, where we have to go."
The release of hundreds of pages of documents in early April showed archdiocese officials had received reports of Shanley's attendance at a meeting in Boston in 1978 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. Among those documents were Shanley's own writings on his life as a street priest, including how he frequently visited clinics for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
MacLeish has repeatedly criticized the archdiocese for failing to turn over documents in the case, and last week requested that the court appoint former Superior Court Judge as a "special master" to oversee the way documents in the case are turned over. On Wednesday, he withdrew that request.
However, Sanders set a date of May 13 for the archdiocese to produce the remainder of documents requested.
A request to videotape Law's deposition is expected to be discussed at a hearing scheduled for May 14.
Meanwhile, Daniel Shea, a lawyer for alleged victims of Monsignor Frederick J. Ryan, will ask a Suffolk Superior Court judge Friday to assure Law's attendance at a future deposition, following reports Law is to be moved to a new position at the Vatican. A spokeswoman for the archdiocese had previously called those reports "groundless."
Also Friday, several dozen members of the Coalition for Concerned Catholics gathered outside Law's residence in Boston to protest his handling of the sexual abuse scandal.
"We're not going to be silenced, we have a voice" protester Lori Lambert said.
© Copyright 2002 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing Inc.