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Paul Shanley Convicted of Child Rape

Feb 7, 2005 | CNN

WOODRUFF: Ron, I'm going to have to interrupt you. My apologies, Judge Stephen Neel in the courtroom in Cambridge, Massachusetts, beginning to deal with the announcement of a verdict in the Paul Shanley trial. We're listening in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Paul Shanley with indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. What say you, Mr. Foreman, is the defendant guilty or not guilty?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So say Mr. Foreman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So say all members of this panel.

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As for (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 14 of 2002 894 (ph) charged defendant Paul Shanley with indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. What say you, Mr. Foreman, is the defendant guilty or not guilty?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So say Mr. Foreman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So say all members of this panel.

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, you may be seated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) counsels, would you like to look at the verdict slips?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The verdicts may be recorded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the verdicts as recorded by the court. You may be seated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen and alternates, your service as jurors and as alternates in this case is now complete. And for that service, the court and the commonwealth and the attorneys thank you. I would ask at this time that you go back to the jury room for one last time where I will come back and speak to you briefly.

WOODRUFF: All right. We are looking at live pictures in a courtroom in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where a defrocked Catholic priest Paul Shanley has just been pronounced the charges against him, he has been pronounced guilty on several counts. CNN's Dan Lothian has been covering the trial. He's with us now on the telephone.

Dan, guilty on all counts?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is correct. First of all, he was charged with two counts of rape of a child. The jury found him guilty on both of those counts. And then on two counts of indecent assault, he's been found guilty on both of those as well. He could face up to life in prison.

This is a case, defrocked priest Paul Shanley was sort of the one of the sort of glaring cases in the sexual abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese. This case dating back to '80s when he was working in a church in the Newton area which is west of Boston.

The victim claimed that rape happened when he was 6 years old. It happened inside of the church. And yet, and he had what seems to be an important issue in this case, repressed memories. Only a few years ago he started talking about what he said happened to him. And that was really at the center of this trial.

Could you believe that these repressed memories were true or were they false? The defense casting doubt on these repressed memories. And amazingly, this two-week trial only presenting one witness who is a U.C. psychologist who questioned the validity of repressed memories.

So once again, the defrocked priest, Paul Shanley, 74 years old, found guilty on two counts of rape of a child, and guilty on both of the counts of indecent assault.

WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Dan Lothian who has been covering this trial, also with us on the telephone or rather, I guess in New York, CNN's legal analyst Jeff Toobin.

Jeff, what happened to the argument by the defense that these memories were just fabricated because they came out so late?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that was an argument forcefully made and apparently quickly rejected by this jury. This was a peculiar case, though, Judy, because Shanley is so much a symbol of the priest abuse scandal.

But yet this only related to one child. And it was a somewhat shaky case because it was so old, you know, almost 20 years old. And there was this issue of recovered or repressed memory which a lot of experts have trouble with. So even though Shanley is a symbol of so much that went wrong in the Catholic Church and he has now been convicted, this particular case was not all that strong against him.

WOODRUFF: Does this close a chapter of some sort, Jeff, or is this just one more part of a long-running story here?

TOOBIN: Well, I think the answer probably is a little of both. Certainly, it closes the chapter on Shanley himself. He's 74 years old. He faces up to a life sentence. So we can safely assume he will die in prison. But both the civil and criminal aspects of this story continue to reverberate, not in as high-profile a way as it was a couple of years ago, but this is very much a story that's not over.

WOODRUFF: Jeff Toobin, CNN legal analyst, commenting on the verdict. Paul Shanley guilty on all counts in a case involving child abuse that occurred many years ago.


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