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Defrocked priest accused of child rape in US 

Irish Examiner

The allegations of a single accuser could determine the fate of one of the highest-profile figures to go to trial in the US Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal.

Paul Shanley, 73, faces three charges of raping a child and two charges of indecent assault and battery on a child. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

Opening statements were to be delivered in Cambridge, Massachusetts today in the case, which was expected to last about two weeks.

One of the alleged victims, now 27, says Shanley raped him repeatedly between 1983 and 1989, beginning when he was six years old. Prosecutors said they plan to call the man’s father and wife to testify.

Shanley’s lawyer, Frank Mondano, has said he will argue that the accuser made up his story after the scandal erupted several years ago. All of Shanley’s alleged victims settled lawsuits with the Boston Archdiocese in April 2004. Shanley was defrocked by the Vatican last year.

The trial is one of a handful of criminal cases that prosecutors have been able to bring against priests accused of molesting their young parishioners decades ago.

Most of the clergy accused in hundreds of civil lawsuits have avoided criminal prosecution because the alleged crimes were committed so long ago that charges were barred by the statute of limitations.

In Shanley’s case, internal church documents showed church officials knew he advocated sex between men and boys, yet they continued to transfer him from parish to parish.

His alleged victims contend they were taken out of religious education classes and raped by Shanley in the church rectory, confessional and restroom.


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