.- One of the most high-profile clergy sex-abuse cases finally came to a close yesterday with the conviction of defrocked priest Paul Shanley. Shanley, who was defrocked by the Vatican last year, was convicted on two counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.
The main plaintiff in the case was a 27-year-old firefighter who said Shanley raped and molested him at a Boston-area church in the 1980s. Reuters reported that the firefighter said he had forgotten about the abuse, but that the memories came back in 2002 as the sex-abuse scandal erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston. He received $500,000 last year as a settlement of his civil lawsuit against the archdiocese.
After the verdict, Judge Stephen Neel revoked Shanley's bail and he was taken into custody. Sentencing of the 74-year-old is scheduled for Feb. 15.
John Harris, who said Shanley raped him in 1979 when he was 21 and went to the priest for counseling about his homosexuality, said it was a "release of emotion" to hear the verdict, reported Reuters.
Shanley's lawyer said he would appeal.
Reuters reported that internal church documents released in 2002 showed that archdiocesan officials knew in 1979 that Shanley had attended a meeting of men involved in sexual relationships with boys. That meeting led to the creation of NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association.