Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious priests in the Boston clerical abuse scandal, was found guilty on all four charges of repeatedly raping and assaulting a young boy at St Jean the Evangelist Parish in Newton, Massachusetts during the 1980s. Shanley’s $300,000 bail was revoked, the Los Angeles Times reports, and he was immediately taken to jail. It is possible that Shanley will receive life in prison when he is sentenced on February 15.
“We are relieved and grateful,” said Barbara Blaine, founder and president of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). “We are especially grateful to the brave men and women who were assaulted by Shanley and came forward. Because of their courage, innocent children and vulnerable adults are safer now.”
At least two dozen men have allegedly been molested by Shanley, who was defrocked by the Pope in May of 2004. Documents that were kept by the Boston archdiocese have confirmed many of the allegations against Shanley, which date back to 1967, the LA Times reports. Documents also show that leaders of the church were aware that Shanley had attended a meeting in 1979 of men who were involved sexually with boys.
Shanley’s conviction is considered to be an important victory for those who wish to see abusive priests brought to justice all over the country. According to the NY Times, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office estimates that approximately 1,000 children have been sexually abused by over 240 priests in the Boston Archdiocese since the 1940s.