BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 26 April, 2002, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
US priest helped children take drugs
Alleged victim Gregory Ford (c) sits with his father (l) with a picture of Rev Paul Shanley in the foreground
An alleged victim says he was abused for years
A Boston priest at the heart of a sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church taught children how to inject drugs, his diary has revealed.

My God, I've even taught kids how to shoot up properly

Reverend Paul Shanley's diary

Reverend Paul Shanley, who was involved with the North American Man Boy Love Association which promotes sex between men and children, also suffered from sexually transmitted diseases, he wrote.

Personal papers and other documents relating to Mr Shanley have been discovered by the Boston archdiocese and handed to lawyers suing the Church on behalf of an alleged victim of molestation.

Revelations about Mr Shanley's activities, sex abuse by another local priest and the fact that the archbishop appeared to cover up what he knew have sent shockwaves around the US and the world.

The Reverend Paul Shanley
Mr Shanley recorded his life as a priest ministering to those on the street
The discovery of Mr Shanley's diary coincided with the summoning of US cardinals to the Vatican to brief the Pope on what had happened and discuss how to tackle the scandal.

The papers were handed under a court order to lawyers acting for Gregory Ford, who says he was sexually abused by Mr Shanley.

One of the lawyers, Roderick MacLeish, said the documents included a frank diary from 1972 of Mr Shanley's role as a "street priest" ministering to drug addicts, runaways and homosexuals.

He read an excerpt written by Mr Shanley: "Imagine much of my life these last few years has been choosing not to pick between good and evil, but the lesser of two evils.

What we have are Paul Shanley's own perverted ramblings about his conduct

Lawyer Roderick MacLeish
"My God, I've even taught kids how to shoot up properly."

Mr MacLeish said: "What we have are Paul Shanley's own perverted ramblings about his conduct."

Letters to Vatican

The lawyer received 800 documents from the archdiocese which may include duplicates of about 800 papers he has already been given. He said the diary showed Mr Shanley sought regular treatment for venereal disease.

Records handed over from the Church showed officials had been told of allegations of abuse against Mr Shanley as early as 1967.

Cardinal Bernard Law
Cardinal Bernard Law reassigned priests accused of paedophilia
Also included were articles showing the archdiocese knew Mr Shanley, 71, had been a vocal proponent of sex between men and boys, as well as correspondence between the archdiocese and the Vatican on Mr Shanley's views about sex.

Mr Shanley, who is now retired and believed to be living in San Diego, California, has never been charged with abuse and has not spoken publicly since the case began.

A spokesman for the Boston archdiocese, Reverend Christopher Coyne, said the late discovery of the documents was "terribly embarrassing".

The alleged abuse victim Mr Ford, now 24, and his parents are suing Cardinal Bernard Law and the archdiocese for allegedly failing to protect him from being abused by Mr Shanley between the ages of six and 11.

See also:

10 Apr 02 | Americas
Second Boston priest in abuse claims
25 Apr 02 | Europe
Paedophile priests face expulsion
25 Apr 02 | Americas
Analysis: US cardinals get message
04 Apr 02 | Americas
Vatican sued in sex abuse cases
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories