Paul Shanley, Pervert Priest

This is not for the faint of heart.  It is a Reporters version of the Paul Shanley Trial.  Not all of it but enough to make you sick.  Don’t read it if you don’t want to know what they do to our children.  But then … maybe you should. Maybe we all should.  It should come out of the shadows.

Award winning Author of three books,  Theresa Marie Moreau flew to Boston from Los Angeles to cover the trial of Paul Shanley.  Her article on Shanley won Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Press Club’s 48th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards in June 2006.

The story, which certain people, especially some Bishops and Cardinals … even a Pope …    would like to gloss over … must be known for the horror of it.”

And this is the way it was:

“If you tell, no on will believe you” Father Paul Shanley whispers the warning as he kneels before his six year old parishoner.  The boy stands still.  He dares not move, as his pants are unzipped and pulled down around his ankles by the consecrateds hands of the 52 year old beloved priest.  The Reverend Father carresses, rubs, then grasps, in his not-so-holy fist, the boy’s body.

“This is how it’s supposed to be done,” Shanley says, then wraps his lips around the boys’ penis.  A faucet drips as the sick sweetness of urinal deodorant fills the ar in the bathroom hidd in the basement of St. Jean L’Evangeliste Church in Newton, Massachusetts  Shanley switches off the bathroom’s overhead bulb.

Darkness overcomes the light.

On the witness stand, remembering the assaults proves too much for the victim, now a 27 year old fireman  in Newton, his hometown.  The victim asked news organizations not to use his name, so I will call him Ron (not his real name).  This former military Policeman, with a hair-trigger temper who disdains authority, chokes on the sobs, buried inside more than 20 years before.  Over three days in January, for almost 14 hours in the Middlesex County Superior Court, Ron recounts with difficulty the rapes and molestation he suffered from 1983 to 1989, from the age of 6 to 12, at the blessed hands of Father Shanley.

Ron hides his hawk like eyes with the heels of his hands.  Furiously he whips his fingers across his eyes to wipe away the tears that flow down to his cheeks.

In the line of questioning Ron, Assistant District Attorney Lynn Rooney lays the groundwork for the Massachusetts Commonwealth’s case against Shanley.  He faces four charges:  two counts of rape of a minor under the age of 16 and two counts of indecent assault and battery of a minor under the age of 14.  Rooney already has a track record.

She is the same prosecutor who won the case against Father John Geoghan, convicted in January 2002 of indecent assault against a 10 year old boy after fondling him in a public swimming pool.

Rooney guides Ron -the sole remaining witness against Shanley – through the landmines that dot the years of abuse, a bathroom in an isolated corner of St. Jean’s basement, the pews, the confessional, the rectory.

The three others, also named in the indictment  have fallen, one by one, off the case.  Emotionally fragile as a result of the abuse they allegedly suffered under Shanley, they cannot face him

Ron again:

I used to go to confession, but I didn’t make any confessions.” Ron notes sarcastically, explaining that on the pretense of rehearsing him for his first confession, Shanley frequently removed the boy from Sunday School Confraternity of Christian Doctrine class.  Once in the reconciliation room, Ron would drop to his knees on the kneeler behind the large chair in which Shanley sat.  But the priest alsays insisted Ron sit in a small chair across from him, face to face.

“What would happen?”  Rooney questions.

“He started undressing me.” Ron says, describing how Shanley would then also undress himself and stand with him in front of an old fashioned flip style mirror positioned in the corner of the reconciliation room.”

“What did he do to you? the prosecutor pushes.

Ron breathes deeply, his face reddens.  With his hand across his face, his eyes hidden behind his fingers, he blurts:  “He used to stick his finger in me.”

“Where?” Rooney demands.  When Ron falters, she again asks, “Where?”

“My bum” he forces out

“How did it feel”  Rooney pushes.

Rons face grows even darker.  His breathing more labored

“It felt awful”  He sobs.


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download 2.jpgPaul Shanley was released in July 2017 after serving 12 years.  He moved into an apartment in Ware, MA at that time.