The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


Judge restricts use of records

By Ralph Ranalli, Globe Staff, 9/27/2002

A state judge said yesterday that he will restrict defense lawyers' use of videotaped interviews and medical records of alleged molestation victims of the Rev. Paul Shanley, despite protests from Shanley's attorney that such an order would hurt his client's ability to prepare for trial.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Peter W. Agnes said yesterday that he would grant a request by prosecutors that Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, be prevented from showing the tapes or records to anyone except members of his staff or his expert witnesses without first seeking a court order.

''This material is not to be used for the public's education, or for anyone's private interests,'' Agnes said.

Shanley, a one-time street preacher who has come to symbolize the alleged failure of the Archdiocese of Boston to control sexually abusive priests, was indicted on June 21 on charges of raping four boys at a now-defunct Newton church during the 1980s. Shanley has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery and is currently jailed on $300,000 cash bail.

Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley has agreed to turn over copies of videotaped interviews with the four alleged victims and their medical records to the defense, but has said she wants to protect their privacy while giving Shanley a fair trial.

Mondano, however, argued at a hearing yesterday that the prosecution's proposed restrictions would severely limit the ability of his private investigators to interview potential defense witnesses and to test the credibility of the alleged victims' stories.

He also called the restrictions unfair, because lawyers for alleged victims suing in civil court have already made public 800 pages of church records on Shanley.

The resulting publicity, Mondano said, has already influenced potential jurors for Shanley's civil and criminal trials. While assuring Agnes that he had no intention of releasing the victims' records to the media, Mondano added that he would be well within ethical rules to ''fight fire with fire in the press.''

This story ran on page A17 of the Boston Globe on 9/27/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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