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Plaintiff: Daily Knew Troubles

Aug 22, 2002 | Newsday A man who accuses a notorious Boston priest of abusing his son said Bishop Thomas Daily admitted in a sworn deposition yesterday that he knew the priest needed help but he took no action.

Rodney Ford, who is suing the Archdiocese of Boston over the alleged abuse of his son, spoke to reporters after the first day of Daily's deposition at the Brooklyn Marriott. The deposition was closed to the media.

The suit alleges that the archdiocese and its officials, including Daily, former vicar general in Boston, were negligent in handling the Rev. Paul Shanley.

"He knew Paul Shanley was a sick person. He knew Shanley needed treatment," said Ford, who says his son was repeatedly sodomized by Shanley over six years.

The incidents are said to have occurred between 1984 and 1989, when Shanley is accused of removing Gregory Ford, now 24, from catechism classes at their Boston-area church.

"It is a disgrace what this person knew and took no action," Ford said of Daily.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn bishop, Frank DeRosa, declined to discuss his deposition, saying only that Daily had answered "openly and forthrightly, based on his recollection of events 20 years ago."

Documents show that Shanley was shifted around by the church - even serving for a time at a Manhattan hostel - as abuse allegations against him swirled. He faces criminal charges in Boston.

In his own deposition earlier, Boston Cardinal Bernard Law seemed to shift blame to Daily for his failure to act against Shanley.

But Ford said Daily suggested he thought someone else was taking care of the matter and had no excuse for why he didn't take action.

"It's like everyone that has authority or is an authority figure in this church - everyone else thought someone else had responsibility," said Ford, 51, of Newton, Mass.

Ford said Daily appeared "confused" at times during the deposition.

In an open letter to the Catholics of his diocese, Daily has acknowledged he regrets some of his actions in Boston. His deposition continues today.

Ford is one of several plaintiffs in the suit alleging that Shanley abused boys while a pastor in Massachusetts.

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