lawyer accuses alleged victim of making up abuse claim
By Associated Press
Friday, January 7, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Paul Shanley's lawyer said Friday that the defrocked priest's last remaining accuser remembered being molested only after he consulted with the Boston law firm that represented hundreds of alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.
Attorney Frank Mondano said court documents show the alleged victim contacted the law firm of Greenberg Traurig before he claims to have remembered bring molested by Shanley, a key figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal. The man says he recalled being abused by Shanley after the scandal broke in the Boston Archdiocese in early 2002.
"I submit that the reason it looks like a textbook case (of recovered memory) is because it came right out of a textbook,'' Mondano said during a pretrial hearing. "People are trying real hard to obfuscate the fact that the cart came before the horse.''
Shanley's lawyer has asked Judge Stephen Neel to let him question the alleged victim before the start of the criminal trial, now scheduled for Jan. 18 in Middlesex Superior Court. The judge did not immediately rule on the request.
Assistant District Attorney Katherine Folger said the issues Mondano raised should be decided by a jury. "I think it is time to move forward,'' she told the judge.
Shanley, now 73, was arrested in 2002 after four men accused him of molesting them between 1979 and 1989, when they were altar boys at St. Jean the Evangelist Parish in Newton. He has been free on bail while awaiting trial.
All four accusers were initially involved in Shanley's criminal case. But over the past year, prosecutors dropped two alleged victims from the case, and plan to drop a third, leaving just the one.
The man was named in media reports before a judge's order barred news organizations from identifying him. Prosecutors contended in court this week that the alleged victim might refuse to testify if he's publicly named, and that would mean the end of the case.
Mondano questioned the chronology of when he recovered his memory of the abuse. He said the man began keeping a journal about the alleged abuse on Feb. 1, 2002, and it includes the name of Greenberg Traurig attorney Roderick MacLeish.
The documents Mondano referenced in court are under seal by judge's order.
According to Mondano, the man says he didn't recall the abuse by Shanley until Feb. 11. In notes from a Feb. 12 conversation he had with a doctor, he says he needs to return to Boston to a pursue a lawsuit, according to Mondano.
He didn't formally retain lawyers from Greenberg Traurig until Feb. 20, but an attorney's fee schedule turned over to the court was dated Feb. 11, said Mondano.
Greenberg Traurig lawyer David G. Thomas said the fee schedule mistakenly bore an earlier date. "We strongly and unequivocally disagree with Mr. Mondano's position,'' Thomas said after the hearing.
The firm represented about half the 550 alleged victims who settled with the Boston Archdiocese for $85 million in 2003.
Mondano has subpoenaed Greenberg Traurig attorney Jeffrey Newman, who represented the man in civil proceedings, to testify about the dates. Newman did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Friday. Thomas said he wasn't in a position to speak for Newman, but that the attorney would be available next week.