Boston CEO would testify of Shanley abuse,
By Ralph Ranalli, Globe Staff, 7/22/2003
The 53-year-old chief executive officer of a Boston-area
corporation has agreed to testify about his alleged abuse
at the hands of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley 37 years ago, charging
that no one from the Archdiocese of Boston questioned him
about it after he told a priest.
The man is identified in court papers as ''John Doe.'' But
lawyers for alleged abuse victims said he heads a well-known
company and has come forward because he was angered that Shanley
had twice invoked the name of God in denying that the alleged
molestation took place at Shanley's cabin in the Blue Hills
in the summer of 1966.
''The letter [written by Shanley] says that the accusations
which I made were unfounded,'' the alleged victim wrote in
a sworn affidavit filed in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday
afternoon. ''That is not true. Fr. Shanley sexually molested
The businessman's testimony is important, plaintiffs' lawyers
said, because it provides compelling evidence for the first
time that church officials ignored allegations against Shanley
as early as 1966 -- 27 years before he was removed from parish
The executive's allegations are the centerpiece of a 196-page
motion filed yesterday by lawyers for Gregory Ford, a Newton
man suing the archdiocese for abuse he allegedly suffered
by Shanley in the 1980s.
Shanley is not a defendant in the suit, but is awaiting trial
in Middlesex Superior Court on charges that he raped four
boys, including Ford, while working at a now-defunct parish
Lawyers for victims say this latest court filing is their
most comprehensive compilation to date of the archdiocese's
efforts to cover up sexual abuse by priests. It details allegations
from numerous alleged victims of Shanley, as well as 25 other
The allegations include charges that Shanley paid teenagers
for sex after they were sent to him by other men.
The motion filed yesterday asks Superior Court Judge Constance
M. Sweeney to allow plaintiffs, if the lawsuits go to trial,
to introduce evidence that the archdiocese had ''policies
and practices'' that covered up for sexually abusive priests.
Such evidence, the plaintiffs argue, refutes assertions by
attorneys for the archdiocese that poor record keeping and
communication among church officials -- rather than a deliberate
policy -- were to blame.
Lawyers for the archdiocese have opposed the plaintiffs'
bid to introduce evidence that could show a pervasive pattern
of ignoring abuse. More than 500 alleged victims of clergy
sexual abuse have filed civil claims against the archdiocese.
The court motion was filed as the attorney general's office
is poised to release its own comprehensive accounting of the
church's conduct during the sexual abuse scandal. The report,
expected this week, is the result of a 16-month grand jury
According to the businessman's affidavit, he was molested
by Shanley when the priest served at St. Patrick's Parish
and elementary school in Stoneham in the 1960s. During the
summer of 1966, the affidavit states, he was summoned to the
rectory by Shanley, who told him about what he called the
''theory of the lesser of two evils.''
''He said I should consider spending the night with him there
and if I felt the need to seek out sexual relief from girls,
I should contact him and that the lesser of two evils would
be for him to masturbate me and for me to masturbate him,''
the alleged victim, who was 16 at the time, said in his affidavit.
''He said he had put himself at risk and would take responsibility
for that, in order to `save my soul.' ''
In late summer in 1966, according to the affidavit, Shanley
drove him to a cabin in the Blue Hills and performed a sex
act on him that night. Shanley later suggested they go to
the cabin again, but the boy refused. He told his parents
about the encounter the next week, according to the affidavit.
His parents took him to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette
in Attleboro, where some of their relatives worshiped, and
spoke to the Rev. Raoul Chabot. Chabot took down the boy's
story, according to the affidavit, and ''told me not to worry
about things and that he had friends in the Chancery and that
he would take care of the matter.''
Documents from the archdiocese previously filed in court
show that Chabot shared the allegations with the archdiocese.
Shanley wrote a letter in his own defense, suggesting that
the family was troubled and insisting ''God as my judge that
I did not masturbate this boy here or anywhere else at the
date or any other date, so help me God.''
The case was reviewed by Monsignor Francis Sexton, who, without
interviewing the alleged victim, closed the matter by writing
''accepted as true'' on Shanley's denial letter.
Jeffrey Newman, a lawyer for the Boston firm Greenberg Traurig,
which represents Ford and more than 250 other people suing
the archdiocese, said the businessman has never wanted to
sue the archdiocese himself. But he agreed to become a witness
for other victims after the lawyers showed him Shanley's letter
denying the alleged molestation in the cabin. ''It angered
him so much that it pushed him over the edge,'' Newman said.
Although the businessman is remaining anonymous for now,
Newman said, he has given his name to attorneys for both sides
and has agreed to come forward publicly if he is called to
testify as a witness.
There are currently no trial dates for either the civil cases
against Shanley or his criminal trial. Lawyers for both sides
have been negotiating a possible settlement of the cases and
are expected to meet with Sweeney next month, after the July
30 installation of the archbishop-designate, Bishop Sean Patrick
This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 7/22/2003.