A central figure in the clergy sex-abuse scandal in Boston was released from jail Wednesday after anonymous donors put up $300,000 bail.
The Rev. Paul Shanley, 71, has been in jail since his arrest seven months ago on charges he raped four boys while serving in a Newton, Mass., parish in the 1970s and ’80s.
Shanley walked out of the Middlesex Superior Court, got into a car and headed off to an unknown destination.
Some people opposed to his release gathered outside the courthouse, yelling, “Keep him in jail!”
Shanley is awaiting trial early next year on 10 counts of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery.
Because of concerns expressed by alleged victims that he was a flight risk, Shanley was required to surrender his passport in order to be set free on bail.
He was also ordered to have no contact with children under 16, no contact with victims or witnesses in the criminal cases against him, to stay in Massachusetts, and to let probation authorities know where he is living.
Once hailed for his work as a street priest in the 1970s in Boston, Shanley has been named in a number of civil suits alleging he had molested young boys.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston earlier this year released documents indicating that church officials, including Cardinal Bernard Law, had received complaints about Shanley dating to 1967.
Officials also knew that he advocated sex between men and boys.
Despite that information, Shanley was transferred from parish to parish where he continued to have access to children.
After his arrest in San Diego, he was initially held on $750,000 bail. That was subsequently lowered to $300,000.
His attorney, Frank Mondano, said the money came from a “large number of people” who wished to remain anonymous “for obvious reasons.”
Rodney Ford, the father of one of Shanley’s alleged victims, said prior to Shanley’s release that the prospect horrified his now-adult son.
”He has a look on his face I haven’t seen in years,” Ford said. ”I thought I’d never see that look again. It’s back and it’s scary.”
Mondano expressed concern for Shanley’s safety, considering the outrage expressed against him.
“I am concerned about security,” Mondano told reporters. “Obviously you don’t have full control over those situations and circumstances and all of the individuals that might be inclined to go around the bend.”