Shanley's Niece Defends Accused Cleric in Deposition

By Robin Washington
Boston Herald
March 12, 2003

In the first publicly released defense of the Rev. Paul Shanley, the priest's niece said he told her he never raped anyone, never endorsed sex between men and boys and does not know one of the men who has filed criminal and civil complaints against him.

"He never raped a child. He never forced anybody to have sex with him," Teresa Shanley said her uncle told her shortly after news stories of sexual misconduct surfaced about him in early 2002.

The assertions came in Teresa Shanley's Oct. 25, 2002, deposition by Roderick MacLeish Jr., a lawyer for Gregory Ford, Paul Busa and two other men who claim the then-pastor of Newton's St. Jean's/St. John's Parish pulled them out of CCD classes in the 1980s and raped them when they were as young as 6 years old.

The men have also filed criminal charges leading to the arrest last year of Shanley, who was jailed for several months before being released on $300,000 bail.

Teresa Shanley said she has regular conversations with her uncle and that he specifically denied Ford's accusations.

Of Busa, she said, "(He said) he doesn't even know who he is."

She did concede, however, that he may have been sexually involved with older adolescents.

"Have you ever stated to anyone that you believe that your uncle may have had sexual relations with post-pubescent (ages 14 to 17) children?" MacLeish asked.

"Yes," she responded.

Of Shanley's alleged involvement in the North American Man-Boy Love Association - a group promoting sex between adults and minors - Teresa Shanley said she never heard of the group until attending, apparently incognito, MacLeish's live televised press conference about the priest last year.

"He was not a member of NAMBLA," she said her uncle told her, adding he spoke at a 1979 conference because "any time any sexual minority group asked him to speak, he spoke."

A frequent visitor to her uncle's former Middlesex jail cell, she said others who visited him included two priests: the Revs. Roger Jacques and Robert Bullock, head of the Boston Priests Forum.

Jacques, who as pastor of Waltham's St. Joseph's Parish inherited some of Shanley's parishioners after the closure of St. Jean's, has since also been accused of abuse.

MacLeish did not respond to requests for comment. Teresa Shanley told the Herald yesterday she questioned why she was called to testify.

"I think the whole process was useless for everybody," she said. "I support and believe in my uncle."

Also released by MacLeish as part of discovery in the Shanley civil suit were depositions of two other accused priests, the Revs. Eugene O'Sullivan and Ernest Tourigney.

O'Sullivan, who pleaded guilty in 1984 to child sex charges while at Arlington's St. Agnes Parish, said after psychiatric treatment he was recommended to the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., by Bishop Robert Banks, then a Boston archdiocese official.

Washington's Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the Metuchen Diocese leader at the time, knew of the conviction but approved the appointment, he said.

"He knew exactly - I did discuss with him," said O'Sullivan, who is now retired.

A Washington Archdiocese spokeswoman said McCarrick did so only after approval from O'Sullivan's therapists.

Tourigney invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to talk about the allegations.

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