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Four abuse convictions for ex-priest Shanley

Laicised Boston priest Paul Shanley could face a life sentence after a jury in the US on Monday found him guilty on all four counts of child sex abuse, including rape.

Catholic News Service reports that the verdict could seal the fate of a man who has been one of the main figures in the clergy child sex abuse scandal that erupted in the Boston Archdiocese in 2002 and spread throughout the US church.

Shanley was found guilty on two counts of raping a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. All the charges involved one person, who said he was repeatedly abused by Shanley in the 1980s.

The testimony in the child rape trial ended on Thursday with the jury left to decide the validity of his 27-year-old accuser's recall of the abuse events he said involved Shanley, now 74.

The accuser, who asked that his name not be used during the trial, testified that he had been repeatedly raped and molested in the 1980s but repressed his memories of the events until the clergy sex abuse scandal revived them. There were four men accusing Shanley when prosecutors indicted him in 2002, but the prosecution dropped the cases involving three as they either refused to testify or could not be found.

The lone accuser received $A651,000 from the Boston Archdiocese last year to settle his civil suit involving Shanley. The defence based its case on debunking the accuser's repressed memory testimony, saying he made up the events for monetary gain.

A statement on Monday from the Archdiocese of Boston did not go into details about the case, but reiterated the Church's apology to victims of clergy sex abuse.

"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 and esteem of families and the community," it said. "Survivors and families who bear the wounds of these shameful acts are held with great tenderness in our prayers."

Ex-priest Shanley convicted on four counts of child sex abuse (Catholic News Service 7/2/05)
Statement of the Archdiocese of Boston Regarding Verdict in Case Against Paul R. Shanley (Archdiocese of Boston 7/2/05)

Archdiocese of Boston

One diocese sues another over sex abuse (CathNews 4/4/03)

Church wants to share expertise on responding to abuse (Irish Times 8/2/05)
Bishops told of sex abuse scandals' lessons (Irish Times 8/2/05)
Nothing in records to suggest abuse, says superior (Irish Times/One in Four)
Defrocked Boston priest convicted on all charges of child rape (Catholic News Agency 8/2/05)
Catholic priest convicted of raping boy (The Courier Mail/Reuters 9/2/05)
Irish bishops issue Lenten reflection on child sexual abuse (Independent Catholic News 8/2/05)
Church 'on knees' over sex scandal (The West Australian 9/2/05)
Catholic hero now faces Vatican inquiry (The Observer 6/2/05)
John L Allen: U.S.-Vatican commission on sex abuse norms meets (National Catholic Reporter 4/2/05)
Ex-Priest's Defense to Call Psychologist (The Guardian/Associated Press 4/2/05)
Church admits betrayal (The Press/ 3/2/05)
Vatican, US bishops to re-evaluate Dallas norms (Catholic World News 1/2/05)

9 Feb 2005