San Diego A priest at the epicenter of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic church agreed Friday to return to Massachusetts to face charges that he repeatedly raped a boy sometimes in a church confessional over a seven-year period.
The Rev. Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the sex scandal engulfing the Boston archdiocese, waived his right to fight extradition at a brief court hearing.
Shanley, 71, will be held without bail until he is picked up by Massachusetts authorities, a San Diego Superior Court judge ordered. The defendant, who has been publicly silent since the allegations surfaced, did not make any statements in the appearance, except to say, "Certainly," when asked to sign the extradition documents.
"He wanted to go back to Massachusetts to address these charges. That's why he didn't feel it was necessary to delay this proceeding," Public Defender Fred Small said afterward.
Shanley's arrest Thursday was the latest development in a scandal that has tarnished Boston's highest-ranking Catholic leader, Cardinal Bernard Law.
Documents from Shanley's personnel files detailed Shanley's advocacy of sex between men and boys as well as his transfer to several parishes by the archdiocese, despite allegations of abuse.
Shaney is charged with raping a boy in Newton between 1983 and 1989. Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley said Shanley took the boy, who was 6 when the abuse started, out of his religious instruction classes almost every week to abuse him, sometimes in the confessional.
The criminal charges were the first to be filed against Shanley. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted.