Four plaintiffs settle with Boston archdiocese

BY admin

April 06 2004 12:00 AM ET

The lawyer representing four alleged victims of former priest Paul R. Shanley said a settlement has been reached with the archdiocese of Boston in a civil case but vowed the criminal case against the onetime street priest would continue. "It's not over until Paul Shanley is in jail," attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. said early Monday morning. He said the settlement was reached at about 11 p.m. Sunday.

MacLeish, who declined to reveal the size of the settlement at the request of his clients, said a joint statement by his office and church leaders was to be released Monday. The four alleged victims and their families refused to sign on to a massive $85 million settlement with the church last September.

Shanley, once known for his street ministry to gay and troubled youth, has pleaded innocent to charges of raping the four in the Boston suburb of Newton in the 1980s. He was released on $300,000 bail last December and is awaiting trial.

He became a focal point of the scandal after internal church records--released by court order as part of the lawsuit--showed that officials did not remove him from parish work after receiving complaints about his alleged advocacy of sex between men and boys. The graphic nature of the alleged abuse by Shanley and other priests detailed in the files revealed the extent of the problem in the Boston archdiocese and hastened the departure in December 2002 of Cardinal Bernard F. Law.

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, who succeeded Law as leader of the nation's fourth-largest diocese, was consulted during the settlement negotiations with church attorneys and two mediators, MacLeish said.
The family of Gregory Ford, the most outspoken of the four families involved in the case, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Ford, now in his 20s, says he was repeatedly raped, beginning at age 6, by Shanley at St. Jean's Parish in Newton.

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