Cardinal Queried Again on Shanley

By Associated Press, carried in Boston Globe
February 4, 2003

Cardinal Bernard F. Law answered more questions under oath yesterday in the civil case involving the Rev. Paul Shanley as lawyers for Shanley's alleged victims prepared to ask a judge to set a trial date.

Law completed his eighth day of testimony in the Shanley case. He had hoped to postpone the session to allow him to focus on upcoming testimony before a criminal grand jury, but a judge denied his request.

In his earlier deposition, Law said he never looked at Shanley's personnel file before promoting him to pastor at St. Jean's Parish in Newton in 1985, a year after Law became archbishop. Shanley's file contained sexual abuse complaints dating to 1966, but Law said he had no knowledge of allegations against Shanley until 1993.

In the civil suits, Shanley's alleged victims contend that Law and other leading church officials were negligent in their handling of sexual abuse allegations against Shanley and other priests.

Shanley, 71, is accused in the suits of abusing children at St. Jean's. He also faces 10 criminal counts of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery on boys from St. Jean's between 1979 and 1989. He has pleaded innocent.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who is representing many of the plaintiffs, said his office plans to serve church attorneys with a motion today asking that the trial start in April for the first civil case against Shanley.

MacLeish and several other lawyers have been meeting with church lawyers in talks aimed at reaching an out-of-court settlement for most of the more than 500 lawsuits that have been filed against the Boston Archdiocese.

MacLeish said they are moving ahead with trial preparation in at least two of the lawsuits against Shanley. The first case involves allegations made by Gregory Ford, who says he was repeatedly raped by Shanley at St. Jean's starting when he was 6 years old. The second involves claims by Paul Busa, a former Air Force military policeman who says Shanley abused him in the 1980s.

Bishop Richard G. Lennon, who has led the archdiocese since Law resigned under fire on Dec. 13, has pushed for a comprehensive negotiated settlement for all the lawsuits.

This story ran on page B5 of the Boston Globe on 2/4/2003.

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