Getting Out : Seeking Justice
from Albatross - Monday, February 07, 2005
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Defrocked priest guilty in rape trial
Sentencing scheduled for next week
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (AP) -- Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, the most notorious figure in the sex scandal that rocked the Boston Archdiocese, was convicted Monday of raping and fondling a boy at his Roman Catholic church during the 1980s.
The conviction on all four charges gives prosecutors a high-profile victory in their effort to bring pedophile priests to justice for decades of abuse at parishes around the country.
Shanley, 74, could get life in prison for two counts each of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child when he is sentenced Feb. 15. His bail was revoked and he was immediately led off to jail.
The victim, now 27, put his head down and sobbed as the verdicts were announced after a trial that turned on the reliability of what he claimed were recovered memories of the long-ago abuse. Shanley showed no emotion as he stood next to his attorneys.
"There are no winners today. There are only losers," his niece, Teresa Shanley, said as her uncle was led from the courtroom. "We're no closer to finding out the truth about this scandal or finding out what happened."
During the trial, the accuser broke down on the stand as he testified in graphic detail that Shanley pulled him out of Sunday morning catechism classes and raped and groped him in the church bathroom, the rectory, the confessional and the pews starting when he was 6.
"It felt awful," he testified. "He told me nobody would ever believe me if I told anybody."
The accuser said he repressed his memories of the abuse but that they came flooding back three years ago, triggered by news coverage of the scandal that began in Boston and soon engulfed the church worldwide.
Shanley, once a long-haired, jeans-wearing "street priest" who worked with Boston's troubled youth, sat stoically for most of the trial, listening to his accuser's testimony with the help of a hearing aid.
The defense called just one witness -- a psychologist who said that so-called recovered memories can be false, even if the accuser ardently believes they are true. A lawyer for Shanley argued that the accuser was either mistaken or concocted the story with the help of personal injury lawyers to cash in on a multimillion-dollar settlement resulting from the sex scandal.
The accuser, now a firefighter in suburban Boston, was one of at least two dozen men who claimed they had been molested by Shanley. The archdiocese's own personnel records showed that church officials knew Shanley publicly advocated sex between men and boys, yet continued to transfer him from parish to parish.
Prosecutors said the accuser had no financial motivation in accusing Shanley of rape in the criminal case because he received his $500,000 settlement with the archdiocese nearly a year ago. They also cited his three days on stand, during which he sobbed and begged the judge not to force him to continue testifying.
"The emotions were raw. They were real," prosecutor Lynn Rooney said in closing arguments.
Most priests avoided prosecution
Victims' advocates said they were gratified by the verdict.
"This shows that when survivors find the strength to speak up, sometimes, sometimes, kids are protected, and justice can happen," said David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abuse by Priests. "When survivors stay silent, nothing changes."
Shanley is one of the few priests prosecutors have been able to charge. Most of the priests accused of wrongdong avoided prosecution because the statute of limitations on their alleged crimes ran out long ago. But the clock stopped when Shanley moved out of Massachusetts.
He was arrested in California at the height of the scandal in May 2002, and brought back to Massachusetts in handcuffs -- charged with raping four boys from his parish in Newton, outside Boston. All four claimed they repressed memories of the abuse, then recovered them when the scandal broke.
But the case ran into numerous problems. In July, prosecutors dropped two of the accusers in what they said was a move to strengthen their case. Then, on the day jury selection began, they dropped a third accuser because they were unable to find him after a traumatic experience on the witness stand at a hearing last fall.
The clergy abuse scandal in Boston began in early 2002 when Cardinal Bernard Law acknowledged he shuffled a pedophile priest from parish to parish despite evidence the priest had molested children. That priest, John Geoghan, was convicted of assault and was later killed in prison.
The scandal intensified later in 2002 when the church released Shanley's 800-page personnel file. Despite church teachings, he argued for acceptance of homosexuality and pushed for gay rights. He called himself a "sexual expert" and advertised his counseling services in the alternative press.
He resigned from parish work in 1989 and moved to California. At the time, Law, who resigned as archbishop in December 2002 at the height of the scandal, praised his "impressive record." Boston church officials recommended him for a job in the Diocese of San Bernardino as a priest in "good standing."
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Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 09:07
Ex-priest Shanley sentenced
12-15 years on child rape charges
Former priest Paul Shanley listens as his sentence is read Tuesday.
The Associated Press
Updated: 11:38 a.m. ET Feb. 15, 2005
BOSTON - Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, one of the most recognizable figures in the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal, was sentenced Tuesday to 12-15 years in prison for raping a boy repeatedly in the 1980s. “It is difficult to imagine a more egregious misuse of trust and authority,” Judge Stephen Neel said in imposing the sentence.
Shanley, 74, once known for a being a hip “street priest” who reached out to troubled children and homosexuals, was convicted last week of two counts each of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child.
He will be eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence. He was also sentenced to 10 years’ probation.
The case hinged on the reliability of the accuser’s memories of the abuse, which he said he recovered three years ago as the clergy sex abuse scandal unfolded in the media.
No life term
Prosecutor Lynn Rooney had recommended a life sentence, saying Shanley used his position of authority to gain the trust of the boys he then molested.
“He used his collar and he used his worshipped status in that community,” Rooney said. “There has been no remorse shown on the part of this defendant. There has been no acceptance of responsibility.”
Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, did not make a specific sentencing recommendation but asked Neel to allow Shanley to serve his sentence in a county house of correction rather than at a state prison.
He also said the prosecution’s case was built on “vilification, half truths and lies.” He has said he plans to appeal.
Victim, family make statements
Shanley’s accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter in suburban Boston, said the former priest would pull him from Sunday morning catechism classes at St. Jean’s parish in Newton and rape and fondle him. The abuse began in 1983, when he was 6 years old, and continued for six years, he said.
Rooney read a written statement by Shanley’s accuser.
“I want him to die in prison,” he said. “I hope it is slow and painful.”
His wife addressed Shanley in court Tuesday, saying “no words can ever explain my disgust for you. You are a coward. You hid behind God.”
“You robbed my little boy of his innocence,” the accuser’s father told Shanley. “You destroyed his understanding of good and bad and right and wrong.”
'Big target' in prison
Some inmate advocates said Shanley's term could amount to a death sentence.
Another key figure in the scandal, former priest John Geoghan, was beaten and strangled behind bars in 2003, a year after being convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy. A fellow prisoner later told investigators he killed Geoghan “to save the children.”
“He’s so high-profile that that puts a big target on his back,” said James Pingeon, a lawyer at Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, a group that provides civil legal services to inmates. “We feel concerned. Obviously he’s a vulnerable person because of his notoriety and his age.”
Shanley was once known for a being a hip “street priest” who reached out to troubled children, homosexuals and other disenfranchised. He was convicted last week of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a church in the 1980s.
In August 2003, Geoghan was killed in his cell in the protective custody unit of a maximum-security prison. Authorities later charged Joseph Druce, a convicted murderer, in Geoghan’s death, saying Druce jammed shut the door of Geoghan’s cell so no one could enter, then beat and strangled Geoghan.
The Correction Department was harshly criticized after Geoghan’s death for transferring the frail former priest from a medium-security prison to a unit in a maximum-security prison where the state’s most dangerous inmates are housed.
After he was charged in Geoghan’s death, Druce sent letters to media organizations saying he was a victim of child sexual abuse and he had killed Geoghan to stop him from molesting more children. Druce’s lawyer has said he plans to use an insanity defense.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6969993/
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - 13:27
"It was an act of revenge. I view this as a case where an adult female is using predatory control — both psychological and sexual — toward juvenile victims. There are definitely sexual overtones to this crime," Braddock said. --Interesting! While it's not the same kind of physical abuse, it sure sounds like the same type of psychological treatment.
U.S. National - AP
Idaho Teen Scalped After Slight
1 hour, 29 minutes ago
U.S. National - AP
By REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press Writer
BOISE, Idaho - A 16-year-old Idaho girl was tied up and scalped by an older woman in an attack motivated by revenge, police said.
Authorities are searching for Marianne Dahle, 26, who was visiting Kirkham Hot Springs in central Idaho Jan. 18 with the girl and a friend when Dahle allegedly tied the girl up and cut away the entire crown and back portion of her scalp.
A felony arrest warrant accuses Dahle of aggravated battery, though she has not been formally charged.
"When I say this gal was scalped, she was truly scalped," said Boise County Chief Deputy Bill Braddock. "The top of her head, her hair, was completely cut off. The motive, as near as we've been told by witnesses, was retaliation for acting in a way that the adult perceived as being offensive to women as a gender."
The girl is recovering at home. Police would not release many details — including the victim's name — for fear it would harm the prosecution's case. Braddock said he only agreed to discuss the incident because the public could help authorities find Dahle, who has been missing since the alleged assault.
Braddock said the victim, the suspect and the female teen witness were "long-term" acquaintances. No drugs or alcohol were involved in the attack, he said.
"It was an act of revenge. I view this as a case where an adult female is using predatory control — both psychological and sexual — toward juvenile victims. There are definitely sexual overtones to this crime," Braddock said.
Police were alerted to the case after Dahle allegedly dropped the teen off at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center in Boise, perhaps fearing the girl would die, Braddock said. Though authorities were able to recover the scalp, which had been left behind at the hot springs, doctors were not able to reattach it, he said. After being hospitalized for several days, the teen was released to recover at home.
"I've been doing this for 32 years now and this is certainly a very unusual case," Braddock said. "I've never even heard of another scalping. I really do think this is an aberration, of one very controlling female who preys on young juvenile females."
The teens and Dahle had gone to the hot springs about 70 miles northeast of Boise, apparently just planning on a soak at the national forest campground, Braddock said.
The hot springs, made by a cascade of hot water forming small pools at the base of a cliff, are popular with campers and hikers. But during mid-week in the winter, Braddock said, visitors can count on near total seclusion.
"When I got there it was after midnight and very cold out, about 9 degrees. I found a lot of physical evidence consistent with information that we were given, including the scalp itself, which was near one of the hot pools," he said.
The case has been difficult to investigate because it has taken deputies some time to win the trust of witnesses and friends of the victim. The teens and Dahle allegedly hang out with a counter-culture punk clique, Braddock said, and some witnesses are fearful of retaliation.
"Everybody in this case is very fragile and they're worried about how they're going to be judged by their peers," Braddock said. "I have to be very protective of my victim and others who are cooperating."
Authorties say Dahle is believed to be armed with a knife and staying somewhere in the Caldwell area, driving a four-door, white 1995 Mercury Tracer. Dahle was described as 5-foot-8, about 140 pounds and with brown hair. Police say Dahle may have shaved her hair except for her bangs.
Though Idaho's mayhem law bans "depriving a human being of a member of his body," Braddock said he expected Dahle would be charged with aggravated battery, which carries the same maximum sentence of 14 years but requires a lesser burden of proof in court.
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - 11:49
Family Prayer request: "Please let us pray for those still held in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay camp and for their speedy release.
They may not be Christians but they are humans and are being held and treated in a very inhumane way.
Please can we also pray for those already released by America, that their poor, tortured bodies and minds will be quickly healed.
I claim the power of the keys of healing for these poor unfortunates, who have never been brought to trial, and have suffered appalling treatment by their captors.
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - 08:39
Does anyone have a thought that might clarify something for me?
There's a statute of limitaions which in Shanleys case was void because he moved from the state of Massachusetts before it ran out.
TF leadership I'm sure has moved a whole lot more often, (and most of them being american must abide by american law), can this situation somehow be applied? What is the law regarding an American commiting crimes against Americans on foreign soil? Is there a statute of limitations in this case? I assume State laws wouldn't apply, but Federal law surely must.
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - 07:13
Damn Alby, beat me to it (posting that is)! I got so excited when I got the breaking news I rush here and posted it, only to discover that you'd already done so.
In any case, I think this is an amazing victory and sets a huge legal precedent for us. How very similar this perp. was: an active humanitarian on all fronts with a secret criminal side. Also, his defense used the same tactics that the cult is now using on us: saying the victim 'made up' his stories to gain publicity, saying he had never mentioned these abuses before so how could they be true etc...
The world is waking up to child abuse in a different way than ever before and the understanding of what a child has to go through in order to finally be able to come forward is also increasing in public awareness.
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - 07:01
I felt such emotion when I saw the news report early this morning about Shanley’s conviction. It just infuriates me that TF leaders think they are above the law, and that changing cult "policies" and issuing lame apologies amends for the horrid abuse of the past. I can’t wait for the day TF’s victims will be able to find the same justice as Shanley’s victims have.
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Monday, February 07, 2005 - 16:31
Zerby and the cult are in good company with Al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in referring to those who disagree with them as "apostates." It seems that just use of the term signifies religious zealots willing promote their fanaticism at all costs. Read the second paragraph last sentence below.
Two Suicide Bombs Kill 27, Al Qaeda Claims Both
59 minutes ago
World - Reuters
By Gideon Long
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Suicide bombers killed 27 people in attacks in two Iraqi cities on Monday in the worst violence since the country's historic election eight days ago.
Al Qaeda Claims Mosul Attack.
Egyptians freed, Iraq captors say Italian reporter to follow
AFP - 19 minutes ago
Two Suicide Bombs Kill 27, Al Qaeda Claims Both
Reuters - 59 minutes ago
Group: Journalist in Iraq to Be Released
AP - 1 hour, 4 minutes ago
Al Qaeda's wing in Iraq (news - web sites), led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for both blasts and vowed further attacks on "apostates and their masters," an apparent reference to U.S.-led forces and the Iraqis who work with them.
U.S. forces stormed a house in Baghdad to free Egyptian telecommunications engineers kidnapped in Iraq, the head of their Egyptian parent company told Egyptian television.
"Two were released when U.S. forces barged into where they were being held in Baghdad and the other two escaped on their own ... The Americans caught one of the kidnappers," said Naguib Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Telecom.
Sawiris said the four Egyptians were safe and the company had contacted their families to inform them that they were free.
A U.S. military spokesman said he was unable to immediately confirm the report, but the military were making checks.
As the counting of votes continued following the Jan. 30 polls, a Kurdish coalition moved into second place, pushing a bloc led by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi into third. A Shi'ite alliance is still well in the lead.
At least 15 civilians were killed and 17 wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded outside the main police headquarters in the town of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad.
Police said the bomber tried to ram his car into the police station but was blocked by a concrete barrier and detonated his explosives near civilians instead.
In the northern city of Mosul, 12 people were killed and four wounded when the other suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of police officers in a hospital compound.
A large crater was blown in the road and at least five cars were destroyed. Most, if not all, the victims were thought to be police officers waiting to collect their salaries.
"A lion in the martyrs' brigades of al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq attacked a gathering of apostates seeking to return to the apostate police force in Mosul near the hospital," al Qaeda's Iraqi unit said in a statement posted on a militant Web site.
"The martyr was wearing an explosives belt and blew himself up after he entered the crowd."
A separate mortar attack on the city hall building in Mosul killed one person and wounded three.
The Islamist militant group Army of Ansar al-Sunna said it shot dead an Iraqi translator working for U.S. forces and posted a video of the killing on the Internet. The video showed the hostage appealing to other translators not to deal with U.S. forces before he was blindfolded and shot in the head.
ITALIAN JOURNALIST TO BE FREED?
An Iraqi group which claims it is holding an Italian journalist abducted in Baghdad on Friday said it would release her soon because she was not a spy, a statement on an Islamist Web site said.
The Islamist militant group had threatened to kill Giuliana Sgrena, a journalist with communist Rome newspaper Il Manifesto, if Italy did not withdraw its 3,000 troops from Iraq.
"Since it has become absolutely clear that the Italian prisoner is not involved in espionage for the infidels in Iraq, and in response to the call from the Muslim Clerics Association, we in the Jihad Organization will release the Italian prisoner in the coming days," the statement dated Monday said.
It was not possible to verify the statement. The Muslim Clerics Association, a group of Iraqi clerics seen as influential among insurgents, had called for her release.
Scores of foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq over the past year. Some have been released -- often after payment of ransoms -- but several have been killed by militant groups. Many more Iraqis have been kidnapped, usually for ransom.
More than a week after their first multi-party election in 50 years, Iraqis are still awaiting the final result, although partial figures showed a coalition of Iraq's main two Kurdish parties has moved into second place in counting so far.
The leading Shi'ite alliance has around 2.3 million votes, the Kurds have 1.1 million and Allawi's bloc has around 620,000.
Officials stressed the results did not necessarily give a clear picture of the final distribution of votes.
They also revealed gunmen had looted polling stations in northern Iraq during the election, tampering with ballot boxes and preventing thousands of people from voting.
One of the key figures in the Shi'ite alliance which is leading the poll rejected calls for U.S.-led troops to leave Iraq immediately.
"If the multinational forces left now, Iraq could face a bloodbath. I believe this 100 percent," Ibrahim Jaafari, head of the Dawa Party and a leading contender to be Iraq's next prime minister, told Reuters. (Additional reporting by Andrew Marshall, Omar Anwar, Mariam Karouny, Alister Bull and Mussab al-Khairalla in Baghdad and Mark Trevelyan in Riyadh)
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