San Bernardino Won't Charge Former Priest

Press-Telegram [San Bernardino CA]
Downloaded May 23, 2003

SAN BERNARDINO -- Paul Shanley, a retired Catholic priest at the center of sexual abuse claims in two states, will not be charged with statutory rape in San Bernardino County, a prosecutor said.

"We don't believe the evidence in front of us at this point in time justified a filing,' Dwight Moore, a supervising deputy district attorney, said Wednesday.

Shanley could face future charges if new evidence surfaces, he added.

Word of the decision prompted a Bernardino County sheriff's detectives to take the unusual step Wednesday of asking officials in neighboring Riverside County to consider charging Shanley.

Prosecutors there have agreed to review the case, sheriff's Sgt. Jack Trotter said.

A man suing the Diocese of San Bernardino alleges that Shanley seduced him in the rectory of a Big Bear Lake church in 1990. The man, then 17, also claims he was molested at a bed-and-breakfast the priest co-owned in the Riverside County resort town of Palm Springs.

Shanley, 71, could not be reached for comment. He is free on bail in Massachusetts, where he has pleaded innocent to 10 counts of child rape.

The former Boston priest was transferred to the San Bernardino diocese in 1990 and dismissed three years later.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.