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Lawyers Battle Over Priest Records

May 2, 2002 | AP

Despite the release of hundreds of pages of documents that paint a troubling portrait of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley and his relationship with the Boston Archdiocese, the Ford family wants more.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who represents the family, is seeking the release of Shanley's psychiatric and other medical assessments that were ordered by the Roman Catholic archdiocese during his tenure.

"I've been looking for the truth, and we're not going to stop until we get to the truth," said Rodney Ford, whose son accuses Shanley of repeatedly abusing and raping him as a child.

MacLeish already has hundreds of pages of church personnel documents on Shanley, one of the priests at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandal that has swept the archdiocese since January. The scandal has sparked similar accusations across the country.

Attorney Frank Mondano, who represents Shanley, said Wednesday that his client never waived his right to keep psychiatric and other medical assessments private. He also said the archdiocese never had the records, though they are referenced in archdiocese correspondence.

Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders did not immediately issue a ruling.

The release of documents in early April showed archdiocese officials had received reports of Shanley's attendance at a 1978 meeting in Boston at which the North American Man Boy Love Association was apparently created. And, despite receiving dozens of allegations of abuse, officials did not warn a California diocese when Shanley moved there in 1990.

Last week, the archdiocese released an additional 800 pages of records in the case. They included Shanley's own writings on his life as a street priest, including how he frequently visited clinics for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

In other developments Wednesday:

A Connecticut man who claims a priest molested him for eight years wore a recording device to confront the cleric about the allegations, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times reported. Jeff Griswold, 31, said the Rev. David Granadino, who works in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, admitted the inappropriate relationship. Granadino's lawyer declined to comment.

The New York Archdiocese asked a Franciscan order to remove one of its priests from a Westchester County parish because he had been accused of "inappropriate behavior." The nature of the accusation was not explained.

A lawyer for an alleged abuse victim accused Maine Bishop Joseph Gerry of transferring a priest to at least two other parishes after learning of abuse allegations.

New Hampshire parishioners circulated a petition calling for the resignation of Bishop John McCormack, who allegedly ignored warnings about abusive priests when he worked in the Boston Archdiocese.

Ohio authorities said the statute of limitations prevents them from prosecuting the Rev. Thomas Hopp, who was accused of sexually abusing a boy in 1980. He has been put on leave.

The Belleville, Ill., diocese removed a priest accused of sexually abusing a New Jersey minor in the 1970s.

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association urged state lawmakers to increase the statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual offenses and boost the penalty for failing to report suspected abuse.

A judge ruled that a priest accused of sexually assaulting a Michigan woman must stand trial. The Rev. Komlan Dem Houndjame of the African country of Togo, who had been working at Assumption Grotto Church in Detroit since 1999, is accused of raping a member of the parish choir last year.

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