|[an error occurred while processing this directive]||
Rev. Shanley arrested on 3 counts of child rape in San Diego
By Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff, and Associated Press, 05/02/02
BOSTON -- The Rev. Paul R. Shanley, a former priest in the Boston archdiocese and one of the most high-profile figures in the church sexual abuse scandal, was arrested this morning in San Diego on charges he repeatedly raped a young boy in his Newton parish in the 1980s.
Shanley, 71, was arrested without incident at a friend's home in San Diego on three counts of rape of a child.
The charges stem from accusations made by Paul Busa, a 24-year-old former Air Force military policeman who claims he was repeatedly molested by Shanley between 1983 and 1989 while he was a student in religious instruction classes at the former St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton.
The victim told police that Shanley took him out of his church instruction class on an almost weekly basis and abused him, Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley said at a press conference this afternoon.
The alleged incidents took place in the bathroom, across the street in the rectory, or in the confessional at St. Jean Parish in Newton, Coakley said.
The victim told police that Shanley warned him, "if he [spoke about the abuse], no one would believe him," the prosecutor said.
Coakley did not identify Busa by name.
The criminal charges were the first to be filed against Shanley, who faces up to life in prison if convicted.
The statute of limitations has run out in many cases of alleged child sex abuse by priests, but does not apply in this case, Coakley said. The current statute extends 10 years from the victim's 16th birthday. Busa is just 24.
Coakley said she would seek a governor's warrant to bring Shanley back to Massachusetts if he did not agree to return with police.
Shanley will undergo an extradition hearing and will be arraigned on a felony fugitive warrant tomorrow morning in San Diego Superior Court.
Coakley said an investigation by State Police, Newton police, San Diego police and US Marshals led to this morning's arrest.
Coakley said her office believed Shanley may have fled the country until television reporters tracked him down in San Diego during the last few days. They then decided to move quickly, she said.
Coakley said her office is looking into several other "credible" allegations of abuse by Shanley from victims who came forward after widespread media reports in the last few weeks.
Until recently, Busa worked as a US Air Force military policeman at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. But after hearing about other sexual abuse complaints lodged against Shanley, he recalled his own alleged molestation and returned to Massachusetts, where he filed a negligent hiring and supervision civil lawsuit against Cardinal Bernard F. Law.
In the suit, Busa claims that Law was told by a parishioner that Shanley had sexually molested another youth, but allowed Shanley to continue working as a parish priest with unrestricted access to children.
Busa also claims that he repressed his memories of his abuse by Shanley, and that the memories re-surfaced in February after he read a story in the Globe describing some of the other claims against Shanley.
After recalling his own alleged abuse, Busa broke down and cried for six hours on Feb. 11, according to an account in the Gazette of Colorado Springs. Air Force officials took Busa's gun away after the incident.
Busa, after meeting with a military psychiatrist, said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders.
Busa also said he suffered a mental and physical breakdown that forced him to give up his position with the Air Force.
"In the beginning, I questioned myself a lot," Busa said. "I thought, `Was I making this up?' The way my body was reacting, I knew it had happened."
Shanley also has been sued, along with the archdiocese, by Gregory Ford, 24, and Ford's parents, who claim Shanley repeatedly raped Gregory when he was a child.
More than 1,600 pages of church documents released as a result of a the Ford lawsuit show that church officials knew Shanley had been accused of child molestation and had advocated sex between adults and children before he was assigned to the Newton parish.
Roderick MacLeish, Jr. a Boston attorney who is representing both Ford and Busa, said that Busa is "looking forward to having his time in court."
MacLeish, along with Ford's parents and the parents of another of Shanley's alleged victims, held a press conference today after the announcement of the charges against the priest.
"Today is a very big day for us," said Rodney Ford, Gregory Ford's father. "But it's only the beginning and we will continue to seek the truth for all the families."
Over the past month, Shanley has become a central figure in the explosive abuse scandal that has consumed the Catholic Church.
The former "street priest," as portrayed by documents released by the church, actively preached to Boston's gay community after his 1960 ordination and established a ministry for runaways, drug abusers, drifters and teen-agers struggling with sexual identity.
The documents also reveal a darker side of Shanley's ministry -- his endorsement of sex between men and boys, his treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, and his attendance at a conference at which the North American Man-Boy Love Association was apparently created.
Church officials transferred Shanley to Newton in 1980 despite their knowledge of his NAMBLA affiliation, the records show, and they sent him to California in 1990 without warning church leaders there that he had been accused repeatedly of sexually abusing children.
Once in California, Shanley and another former priest, John L. White, operated a Palm Springs, Calif., resort that catered to homosexuals. Until 1993, he was assigned part-time to the San Bernardino Diocese, where he sometimes supervised children. He then moved to San Diego.
Shanley was fired from his volunteer job at the San Diego Police Department after the sex abuse allegations surfaced in Boston.
Donna M. Morrissey, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Boston, released this statement on Shanley's arrest this afternoon:
"Our hope is that the arrest of retired priest Paul Shanley on charges of the sexual abuse of a child will bring some level of relief and contribute to the healing of those who have been sexually abused as children and teen-agers, their families and all who suffer during this horrific time.
"The Archdiocese of Boston will continue to cooperate with civil authorities in the investigation of all such cases.
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 has issued no public statements since the case began.
A call to Mondano on Thursday seeking comment on the arrest was not immediately returned.
Barbara Blaine, president and founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said today the group hopes Shanley's arrest will encourage others who have been abused by priests to contact prosecutors.
"While this scandal is much broader than any one perpetrator or bishop, the arrest of Father Shanley means that children are safer and Shanley's victims are now one step closer to vindication and healing," Blaine said.
Maria Leo, 36, of Newton, a Catholic who knows two of Shanley's alleged victims, said Thursday's arrest will end at least one chapter in the crisis. "I'm excited no one else will be hurt by him," said Leo, the mother of two young boys. "He won't be victimizing anyone anymore."
Material by Boston.com staff was included in this report.
© Copyright 2002 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing Inc.