- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Former priest Paul Shanley told a 6-year-old boy, “If you tell, no one will believe you,” before molesting him at a parish in the early 1980s, a prosecutor said yesterday .

But the defense said his story was concocted in order to bring a lawsuit.

The boy didn’t tell anyone for nearly 20 years, recovering his memories of the purported abuse only after hearing of press reports about the sex scandal in the Boston Archdiocese, Assistant District Attorney Lynn Rooney said during opening statements in Mr. Shanley’s child rape trial in Middlesex Superior Court.

“Those memories were buried deep inside,” she said.

Mr. Shanley’s lawyer, Frank Mondano, said the accuser made up the accusations against Mr. Shanley to get in on the multimillion-dollar settlements for victims in the scandal.

Miss Rooney acknowledged that the man received $500,000 in a civil settlement with the archdiocese last year, but she said his willingness to testify publicly about being repeatedly raped by Mr. Shanley shows that he is motivated by more than money.

Mr. Shanley, who turned 74 yesterday, faces three charges of raping a child and two charges of indecent assault and battery on a child. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

The priest was defrocked by the Vatican last year after being charged with sexually abusing boys at St. Jean’s parish in Newton, Mass., from 1979 to 1989.

The case originally involved accusations by four persons, but it has been whittled down to the one man, now 27, who says he was sexually abused by Mr. Shanley from 1983 to 1989, when he was between the ages of 6 and 12.

Miss Rooney said the boy was taken out of religious education classes and raped by Mr. Shanley in the church bathroom, the pews and in the confessional.

Mr. Shanley sometimes summoned the boy to the rectory to play cards.

“The defendant would say, ‘You lose, take off your clothes,’ ” and then molest him, Miss Rooney said.

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