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Church Releases New Files on Priest

Apr 25, 2002 | Associated Press

The Boston Archdiocese turned over additional documents to lawyers Thursday showing that church officials knew a priest had publicly advocated sex between men and boys.

Church officials discovered the papers last week during a review of another priest's records, said the Rev. Christopher Coyne, an archdiocese spokesman.

They were given to lawyers for Gregory Ford and his parents, who are suing Cardinal Bernard Law and the archdiocese for allegedly failing to protect Ford from abuse by the Rev. Paul Shanley.

The lawyers were reviewing the papers, which were not expected to be made public Thursday. The documents should have been turned over earlier under an April 3 court order.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish said he received about 800 pages. Coyne said many were believed to be duplicates of the previously released documents.

The archdiocese had previously released about 800 pages of church records.

Those documents showed church officials had been told of allegations of abuse against Shanley as early as 1967; they would eventually receive a total of 26 abuse complaints. Shanley was never charged in any of those cases.

Also included were articles showing the archdiocese knew Shanley had been a vocal proponent of sex between men and boys, as well as correspondence between the archdiocese and the Vatican on Shanley's views about sex.

Coyne said the discovery of the new documents, which included letters reporting that Shanley approved of man-boy sex, is more evidence that officials received and ignored numerous complaints about Shanley.

"It's terribly embarrassing at this late date to come out and say this," Coyne said. "No one knew these files were around. It wasn't just one letter that was overlooked. It's another bad thing. It makes us look like we're not being honest."

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