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Accused priest will face abuse charges in Boston

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 4, 2002

BOSTON -- A priest facing prosecution for child rape waived extradition in San Diego on Friday.

BOSTON -- A priest facing prosecution for child rape waived extradition in San Diego on Friday.

The Rev. Paul Shanley, 71, was wanted on three counts of repeatedly raping a child. He will be held without bail in San Diego until Massachusetts officials return him to the state where the alleged crimes occurred between 1983 and 1990.

Shanley, who is expected to be arraigned in Boston early next week, has made no public comment since his name surfaced in January in connection with alleged abuse by priests in the Boston Archdiocese.

White-haired, and looking drawn in his blue prison jumpsuit, Shanley said only: "Certainly," when Superior Court Judge David Szumowski asked if he understood his right to contest the extradition request from Massachusetts.

District Attorney Martha Coakley said her Boston office had investigated the allegations against Shanley and found them credible. The alleged abuse, she said, took place after religious education classes at St. Jean's Parish in Newton, Mass.

The district attorney said the priest had molested children in the bathroom, the rectory and the confessional of the church.

More than 1,600 pages of archdiocese documents about Shanley turned over to lawyers in conjunction with another lawsuit illustrated the priest's long history of advocating sex between men and boys.

The records also showed that church officials in Boston had known of abuse complaints against Shanley since at least 1967 but still recommended him to a parish in Southern California as a priest "in good standing."

Ordained as a Catholic priest in 1960, Shanley was assigned to various Boston Archdiocese parishes during the 1960s. In the decade that followed, Shanley became known as a "street priest." Wearing jeans and long hair, he ministered to homosexuals, drug addicts and runaways.

In a 1972 mailing, Shanley wrote on how he helped young people get treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, then described his own frequent visits to health clinics.

He also described the tough moral choices he faced in helping runaways: "Much of my life these last few years has been choosing not twixt good and evil but the lesser of two evils. My God, I've even taught kids how to shoot up properly!"

While some wrote the archdiocese to warn that his speeches before groups and on college campuses were dangerous, others exalted his work on behalf of the underprivileged, according to the documents that the archdiocese released.

-- Information from the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press was used in this report.

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