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Spotlight Report

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More data ordered freed on allegations

By Matt Carroll, Globe Staff, 5/29/2002

The Archdiocese of Boston yesterday was ordered to turn over by the end of the week any allegations of sexual misconduct it has against 11 priests to an attorney whose clients assert they were sexually abused by the Rev. Paul R. Shanley.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. said he will use the documents in an effort to show that the archdiocese had a pattern of knowingly reassigning priests accused of sexual abuse to parish after parish.

The order by Middlesex Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Brassard broadens considerably the topics Cardinal Bernard F. Law can be questioned about at his deposition in the Shanley case next week, MacLeish said. Until the order, his questions were restricted to Law's handling of Shanley. Now, he can question Law about the other priests as well.

The judge ordered the archdiocese to turn over the documents tomorrow and Friday. Only documents that allege abuse or show there was an investigation need to be turned over. Documents that merely mention the priest or refer to other matters are exempt, Brassard said.

Gregory Ford and Paul Busa, both of Newton, have filed lawsuits saying they were sexually abused by Shanley when they were young boys. Shanley was arrested in San Diego on May 2 and faces three counts of rape in the Busa case.

Another court ruling yesterday also effectively means that Law's two days of scheduled depositions next week could be released to the public almost immediately. That ruling by Brassard differs dramatically from another court order this month on the release of the transcript from Law's first deposition.

Brassard said the depositions, scheduled for Wednesday and Friday, can be released to the public as soon as they are certified by the stenographer, which attorneys on both sides said could be shortly after it was over on Friday. A videotape of the deposition can also be released when it is certified, although one attorney said that might take a day longer.

Paula and Rodney Ford, Gregory Ford's parents, said they expected to attend Law's deposition.

Brassard said his ruling on the quick release of transcripts affected only Law and two top former Boston church officials, Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn, and Bishop John B. McCormack of New Hampshire, who as ''senior members of the archdiocese are on a different footing than the others.'' McCormack is scheduled to be deposed on Monday; Daily on June 13.

Law was deposed earlier this month for lawsuits over former priest John J. Geoghan, who in January was convicted of molesting a child and sentenced to prison. A transcript of the first day's deposition was released immediately afterward, which upset Law's attorneys and Judge Constance Sweeney. Sweeney since has ordered that Law be allowed 30 days to review his transcripts before they are released.

The 11 priests whose files will be turned over are: Paul J. Mahan, Paul M. Desilets, John R. Hanlon, Richard O. Matte, James Talbot, Bernard J. Lane, Joseph E. Birmingham, Ernest E. Tourigney, Ronald H. Paquin, Eugene O'Sullivan, and Daniel M. Graham.

After the hearing, MacLeish said he had been told that Law's ''chronological file,'' which would include records of everything he had mailed out, had not yet been checked as part of discovery for documents related to the case.

This story ran on page A15 of the Boston Globe on 5/29/2002.
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