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Archdiocese turns over documents in sex abuse case
By Associated Press, 04/05/02
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Archdiocese of Boston Friday turned over two packets of personnel records about Rev. Paul Shanley to an alleged abuse victim who has filed a lawsuit claiming he was raped by the priest.
Attorney Roderick MacLeish, who is representing alleged victim Gregory Ford and his family, said that the documents appeared to be "very significant" but noted that they did not seem complete.
"I don't believe that we've been provided with the psychiatric evaluation that was done of Paul Shanley," MacLeish said, shortly after the documents were delivered by messenger. "We expect that to be delivered. We're going to be meeting with their (the archdiocese's) lawyers to request that."
MacLeish would not discuss the content of the documents.
The archdiocese turned over the information a day after a superior court judge ruled that Ford, 24, and his family can publicly talk about documents in the case.
Lawyers for the archdiocese on Wednesday had offered to release Shanley's personnel files to Ford and his parents, who are coplaintiffs, but on the condition they not discuss the contents with anyone outside the immediate family.
Ford objected, and in a hearing Wednesday and in court papers filed Thursday, he argued that any request for silence would "impermissibly burden both the press's and the plaintiff's fundamental rights for free speech."
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Leila R. Kern denied the archdiocese's request for a gag order, saying "there can be no question that these allegations are a matter of significant public interest."
"There is continuing coverage in the press of similar allegations regarding Law and his alleged negligent supervision of priest accused of pedophilia," Kern ruled.
Kern said the church could withhold some documents that might be privileged due to privacy rights.
A hearing is scheduled to be held April 17 on whether the documents should be made public.
The Archdiocese of Boston said in a statement Thursday that it would not appeal the judge's order.
The lawsuit charges that Shanley was a child molester who was knowingly allowed by Cardinal Bernard F. Law to remain as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton until 1989.
Shanley was well known as a "street priest" in the 1960s and 1970s, who worked with gays and runaways. Ordained in 1960, he also served in parishes in Stoneham and Braintree.
Shanley, 71, has been living in San Diego the past seven years. He was fired Wednesday as a volunteer with the San Diego Police Department.
© Copyright 2002 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing Inc.