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Archive for Thursday, May 2, 2002

Priest’s lawyers try to keep psychiatric records private

May 2, 2002

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— Lawyers for the Rev. Paul Shanley argued Wednesday that his medical records should not be turned over to a family that has accused him of raping a boy.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who represents the family, wants psychiatric and other medical assessments of Shanley that were ordered by the Boston Archdiocese during his tenure.

MacLeish already has hundreds of pages of church personnel documents on Shanley, one of the priests at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandal that has swept the archdiocese since January.

Attorney Frank Mondano, who represents Shanley, said his client had never waived his right to keep psychiatric and other medical assessments private. He also said the archdiocese had never had the records, though they are referenced in archdiocese correspondence.

Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders did not immediately issue a ruling.

Gregory Ford, 24, and his parents, Paula and Rodney, are suing the archdiocese and Cardinal Bernard Law for negligence for allowing Shanley to work in a parish where Ford was allegedly abused as a child.

Shanley was ordained in 1960 and was well-known as a "street priest" who worked with gays and runaways in Massachusetts over the next two decades. He was transferred to California in 1990.

Shanley, 71, now lives in San Diego. He has not been heard from since molestation allegations against him surfaced. He is scheduled to be deposed today.

MacLeish released hundreds of pages of the church personnel documents on the priest last month. The documents describe Shanley as a "very sick person" and a known proponent of sex between men and boys.

Yet Law moved Shanley around the archdiocese and wrote him a positive retirement letter. The archdiocese also recommended Shanley for a post at a California church without telling officials there about his background.

Law declared in court papers last month that unspecified "negligence" of Gregory Ford, then 6, and his parents contributed to alleged abuse.

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