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Four Alleged Victims of Former Priest Paul Shanley Settle With Church In Civil Case

Apr 7, 2004 | AP

The Boston Archdiocese has settled lawsuits filed by four men who say they were molested as boys by the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, a central figure in the sex scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

The exact financial terms of the agreement reached late Sunday were not disclosed. However, an attorney for the plaintiffs said each will get more than the $300,000 maximum that 550 other alleged abuse victims will receive in a $85 million settlement reached with the archdiocese last September.

The four plaintiffs Gregory Ford, Paul Busa and two other men who asked not to be identified had refused to sign on to the earlier settlement.

Shanley is awaiting trial on charges of raping Ford, Busa and the two others at a parish in Newton in the 1980s. He is free on $300,000 bail.

Ford, now 26, said he was repeatedly raped by Shanley, beginning at age 6. He has been the most outspoken of the four plaintiffs.

"I would like to move forward with my life in a quiet manner," he said in a statement. "My hope is that all of the survivors can find some peace in their lives as well."

Shanley's attorney did not immediately returns calls seeking comment.

"The archbishop hopes that this settlement will bring some measure of healing to the Ford family," the archdiocese said.

Shanley, once known for his street ministry to gay and troubled youth, became a focal point of the scandal after internal church records released under court order as part of the lawsuit showed officials did not remove him from parish work after learning that he advocated sex between men and boys. The files also said he attended a meeting of a group that later became known as the North American Man-Boy Love Association.

The lurid allegations against Shanley and other priests led to the resignation in 2002 of Cardinal Bernard F. Law as archbishop. Archbishop Sean O'Malley succeeded Law as leader of the nation's fourth-largest diocese.

Also Monday, a hearing began on a bid by prosecutors to have James Porter, a former priest in the Fall River Diocese, locked up indefinitely as a sexually dangerous person. Two women testified he molested them in the 1970s.

Porter pleaded guilty in 1993 to molesting 28 children. His prison sentence was to have ended in January, but prosecutors are trying to block his release.


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