A Middlesex County superior court judge in Massachusetts said Monday that he would decide by week's end whether an attorney for the Reverend Paul Shanley can use confidential files as he prepares to defend his client against child rape and abuse charges. Shanley, a key figure in the Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, and his attorney, Frank Mondano, appeared briefly before Judge Paul A. Chernoff for a pretrial hearing. Mondano has asked prosecutors for documents that he claims are necessary to prepare Shanley's defense. Chernoff said he would review the files by Friday to determine if they could be released to Mondano and prosecutors. After the hearing, Mondano said the records are therapy files for three of the four men whose allegations form the basis of the state's case against Shanley. He said he expects that the documents will be released. "I think it is a no-brainer," he said. Shanley is free on bail while his criminal case is pending.
Shanley also faces pending lawsuits by 10 victims and their family members who refused to sign onto a massive $85 million settlement with the church. Shanley was once known for his street ministry to troubled gay youth. He became a focal point of the abuse scandal after internal church records,
disclosed in separate civil lawsuits, showed that officials did not remove him from parish work even after they received complaints about statements he'd made about sex between men and boys. Church files also indicated that he had attended a meeting that was a precursor to the later formation of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.