12-year sen­tence ends for for­mer priest

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

BOS­TON — A for­mer priest at the cen­ter of Bos­ton’s Ro­man Catholic clergy sex abuse scan­dal was qui­etly re­leased from prison Fri­day morn­ing af­ter com­plet­ing a 12-year sen­tence for the rape of a boy in the 1980s.

Paul Shan­ley, 86, was re­leased from the Old Colony Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter in Bridge­wa­ter. He plans to live in an apart­ment in Ware, a town of about 10,000 peo­ple about 65 miles west of Bos­ton, ac­cord­ing to the state’s sex of­fender reg­istry.

Prose­cu­tors op­posed his re­lease, and sev­eral men who say they were abused by him when they were young called on the pub­lic to help them track his where­abouts. They said they are con­cerned Shan­ley will re-of­fend.

The reg­istry des­ig­nates Shan­ley a Level 3 of­fender, con­sid­ered the most likely to re­of­fend. But two psy­chol­o­gists hired by state prose­cu­tors cited Shan­ley’s ad­vanced age and his health is­sues in con­clud­ing that his like­li­hood to re­of­fend is low.

At­tor­ney Mitchell Garabe­dian, who rep­re­sented dozens of men who say they were abused by Shan­ley, said the eval­u­a­tions were in­com­plete be­cause the psy­chol­o­gists didn’t in­ter­view Shan­ley. In­stead, they re­viewed po­lice re­ports, prose­cu­tors’ files and Shan­ley’s church per­son­nel file con­tain­ing nu­mer­ous sex­ual abuse com­plaints against him.

“The fact that nei­ther ex­pert spoke to Paul Shan­ley leaves a hole in the re­port you could drive a trailer truck through,” Garabe­dian said.

Both psy­chol­o­gists found that Shan­ley meets the psy­chi­atric cri­te­ria for pe­dophilic dis­or­der. But they said in their writ­ten re­ports that re­search sug­gests that re­cidi­vism rates for peo­ple of his age are ex­tremely low. They also cited Shan­ley’s health is­sues — which were redacted from the re­ports — and the fact that his last re­ported of­fense was in 1990.

Prose­cu­tors sought to hold Shan­ley be­yond his crim­i­nal sen­tence un­der a law that al­lows civil com­mit­ment of peo­ple deemed sex­u­ally dan­ger­ous. But the two psy­chol­o­gists found he did not meet the le­gal cri­te­ria to hold him.

As a con­di­tion of Shan­ley’s pro­ba­tion, he has been or­dered to have no con­tact with chil­dren un­der 16.

Ware Po­lice Chief Shawn Cre­vier said Shan­ley has reg­is­tered as a sex of­fender. Posters will be dis­played around town no­ti­fy­ing the pub­lic that Shan­ley is liv­ing in the area, which is typ­i­cal pro­ce­dure for the depart­ment.

“We’re go­ing to do what we need to do to make sure the cit­i­zens are pro­tected and his rights are also pro­tected,” Cre­vier said.

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