Notorious priest in sex abuse scandal to be released this week

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A former priest who was one of the most notorious figures in the Boston clergy sex-abuse scandal will be released this week, after serving 12 years in prison for raping a Sunday school student.

Former “street priest” Paul Shanley, 86, was sentenced in 2005 to 12 to 15 years in the slammer for raping and fondling a boy in the early 1980s.

Prosecutors said they had hoped to keep the disgraced, defrocked creep behind bars even after his sentence was completed by having him declared a “sexually dangerous person,” the Boston Globe reported.

But two doctors who examined Shanley found that he did not meet the legal criteria, prosecutors said.

“We are awaiting their final reports,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office said in a statement. “However, both doctors have informed us that they have concluded that Shanley does not satisfy the legal criteria for a petition to be filed.”

Shanley was accused of abusing roughly two dozen victims over several decades, many of them troubled adolescents who came to him for counseling when he ran a “ministry for alienated youth” in Boston in the 1960s and ’70s.

Shanley is expected to be released Friday from Old Colony Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in Bridgewater, victims’ attorney told the paper.

He will then begin 10 years of supervised probation and forbidden from having contact with children under the age of 16, the district attorney’s office said.

He also will have to register as a sex offender, officials said.

Carmen L. Durso, a victims’ attorney, said Shanley is serving the minimum sentence because he earned time for good behavior behind bars.

He said he was outraged that the doctors who examined Shanley did not find him to be sexually dangerous.

“If Paul Shanley is not a continuing threat, then nobody is,” Durso told the Globe.

Rodney Ford, whose son, Gregory, was molested in the 1990s, expressed his anger that Shanley will not be held behind bars under the state’s civil commitment law for sexually dangerous persons.

“People need to know this is a monster who is going to be let out of prison, and age and frailty don’t mean anything,” said Ford, whose son said Shanley abused him between the ages of 6 and 11. “It’s about power and control for Paul Shanley.’’

Under a state law, prosecutors may petition a court to have a defendant indefinitely imprisoned as a sexually dangerous person after completing a prison sentence if the state can prove the person suffers from a mental illness or abnormality that makes him incapable of controlling sexually dangerous impulses.

Mitchell Garabedian, who represented victims in civil claims against the church, called it a “sad day for many victims.”

“Father Shanley has ruined their lives from sexually abusing them, and they feel not only did Father Shanley get away with sexually abusing them, but the supervisors of Father Shanley got away with allowing him to do it,” he said, the Globe reported.

The Archdiocese of Boston released a statement, saying, “Paul Shanley’s crimes against children were reprehensible. No young person should ever have to experience such violations of their safety and dignity. We continue to assure all victims of abuse of our prayers and our concern.”

With Post Wires