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Law's Transcripts To Be Released

Aug 12, 2002 | AP

Transcripts and videotapes are expected to be released Tuesday detailing Cardinal Bernard Law's answers during a deposition on how the Boston Archdiocese handled sexual abuse allegations against the Rev. Paul Shanley.

The material covers two days of Law's deposition in May. The embattled cardinal is also expected to be questioned again Tuesday by lawyers handling civil lawsuits against Shanley that accuse church officials of negligence in failing to protect children.

Shanley, 71, is accused of abusing boys from 1979 to 1989 while he was a priest at a church in Newton. Besides the civil suits, the retired priest has pleaded innocent to criminal charges of child rape, indecent assault and battery.

In court papers released Monday to attorneys in the civil cases, archdiocese lawyers said they plan to depose at least three people later this month.

The court papers provided to reporters did not identify the three, but plaintiffs' attorney Roderick McLeish said they included a 13-year-old who was abused by Christopher Reardon, a former church worker who pleaded guilty last year to child rape and other molestation charges.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said she would look into the matter, but had no immediate comment.

The release of Law's transcripts and videotapes was delayed for settlement talks between church officials and lawyers for the alleged victims. The talks ended with no agreement.

Prosecutors said Shanley, who was once known for his street ministry to troubled and gay youth, would take the boys out of class and assault them in the rectory, the church bathroom or a confessional.

Church personnel records released in April revealed that Law had moved Shanley from parish to parish and wrote him a positive retirement letter even though the archdiocese had received complaints about him dating to 1967.

Shanley was described in archdiocese documents as a "very sick person" and a proponent of sex between men and boys.

Law also wrote Shanley a recommendation letter for a post at a California church in 1990 without telling officials there about the abuse allegations.

The cardinal said in a letter distributed to parishes in May that he did not become aware until 1993 of any abuse allegations against Shanley.

Law's attorney, J. Owen Todd, did not return a call Monday.

Paula Ford's 24-year-old son, Gregory, claims in a civil lawsuit that Shanley repeatedly raped him when he was a child. She was permitted to attend Law's deposition sessions.

She said Law blamed poor record-keeping and "put everything on his subordinates" when asked why Shanley was reassigned after church officials learned of the abuse allegations.

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