"If you tell, no one will believe you", whispered Father Paul Shanley into the 6 year old boy's ear as he proceeded to sodomize the child. An act he would continue to inflict on this child for the next 6 years.
The child did exactly what the hippie priest expected him to do. He kept silent. For 20 years.
One day he did tell. In a court of law. Despite what the priest had told him, a jury of 12 men and women believed him.
Rumors had circulated about Paul Shanley for decades. Multiple complaints had been made about him molesting young boys and promoting pedophilia,bestiality and incest as normal - complaints which were made to church officials who responded the way they always did when they discovered a pedophile priest in their midst - A brief apology to the family along with a statement that God wanted us to forgive. Then they transferred Paul to another unsuspecting Parish. The first incident dates back to the 1960's. He's had at least 40 victims.
As a young priest Paul was known as the "hippie priest" or "The Pied Piper". He belonged to the streets and alleys of Boston, walking the night looking for young boys he could "help". He had style, he had carisma and people adored him even as they suspected that there was something not quite right about this man who was willing to take on all the troubled youths who didn't fit in. And yet, that's how it usually is with sexual predators. The vulnerable make the easiest targets....and they are the least likely to tell - from a 6 year old boy to a 15 year old runaway. THAT is the number one requirement to prey on children, being able to recognize which ones are susceptible to manipulation.
Paul's crimes finally caught up with him in a Boston court room where his lawyers argued that he was a victim of a false recovered memory. A jury of 12 men and women didn't believe him. I read the transcripts - I don't believe him either. Amazingly enough there are those who do support Shanley.
Among them are Bob Chatelle, an original signatory on the RSOL campaign, a long time Nambla apologist, pedophile defender and activist for legalized possession of child pornography under the guise of free speech....... and nonexistence. He claims child pornography laws are unconstitutional.
There's Yasmin Nair, a gay rights activist and pedophile apologist.
It’s true that sexual assault can have shattering effects on people, but not always. And it’s not impossible to learn to live with the memories of trauma.Then there's Bill Andriette, Nambla Steering Committee member, editor of The Nambla Bulletin, and Gayme magazine, recently removed from distribution at Amazon.com. As editor of The Guide he's published pro bestiality articles and descriptions of the eroticism of eating feces. Oh and of course pro Paul Shanley articles of course. He described in an interview the horrors of Megan's Law.
How can we live with ourselves, with our betrayal of Paul Shanley?
Before the Massachusetts version of the law took effect, a NAMBLA member drafted an "open letter" to the state's high court, likening the measure to rights abuses in the McCarthy era and asking for a postponement of its enforcement. In addition to John Reinstein, legal director of ACLUM, those who agreed to sign the letter included Paul Shannon of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Cathy Hoffman, peace commissioner for the city of Cambridge.Tom Reeves, Nambla Steering Committee member and original signatory on the RSOL. Tom drafted a resolution which Nambla adopted
"(1) The North American Man/Boy Love Association calls for the abolition of age-of-consent and all other laws which prevent men and boys from freely enjoying their bodies. (2) We call for the release of all men and boys imprisoned by such laws."And then
On December 2, 1978, Tom Reeves of the Boston-Boise Committee convened a meeting called "Man/Boy Love and the Age of Consent." Approximately 150 people attended. At the meeting's conclusion, about thirty men and youths decided to form an organization which they called the North American Man/Boy Love Association, or NAMBLA for short.And then of course there is Paul Shannon. The coordinator for the RSOL and long time friend of Paul Shanley. Despite the multitude of victims and despite the 1600 pages of Church documentation, despite the proven knowledge that for four decades Paul Shanley was abusing children....and the Church was complicit with their failure to act. Despite the victims heart rending stories, despite one of Paul's victims who committed suicide. Despite all that Mr. Shannon defends him blindly. Here
"How a jury in any objective sense based on that evidence could convict a person of those charges is beyond me"And Here
Paul Shannon, a longtime friend, said he felt "complete devastation" over the verdict. He called the accusations a "preposterous story" that he said was "mathematically impossible for Shanley to have done."And Here
"The fact is," says Paul Shannon, one of Shanley's key supporters, "Coakley is a very dishonest person who has done tremendous grandstanding on this case. As a DA, she's been despicable."And Here
Mr. Shannon called the verdict “a catastrophe for me personally, for Paul Shanley certainly, and for everyone who is concerned about justice.”And Here
"All I know is that Paul Shanley did not rape these four boys," Shanley's friend Paul Shannon said.And Here
His friend Paul Shannon called the sentence and the conviction a travesty and defended the former priest to reporters afterward.And Here
"My life is better because I knew Paul Shanley," he said.
"In the present climate," says Paul Shannon, "a jury would convict him on the testimony of a ham sandwich."And of course Here
When people who were sexually violated by priests began coming forward, the opportunity existed for a thoughtful public discussion on matters that routinely elude reason. Instead the media decided that the priests crisis would be viewed within the framework of an inquisition.Now Paul Shannon is actively supporting protecting children from sexual abuse by removing virtually all restrictions and penalties on abusers. Ex-Father Paul Shanley must be so proud.
To paraphrase the past president of the Brooklyn Sisters of Mercy (Camille D'Arienzo), is it really just to judge another human being by the worst thing he has done in his life, as if it were the only thing he has done? How would any of us fare were someone to broadcast the worst thing we have done - as if it were the solitary expression of our life on earth? Isn't what's required for healing repentance, a sincere apology, appropriate restitution and rebirth - not demonization?
We'll be talking more soon about the history of the RSOL and the people involved with it. For now know that Paul Shanley is taking his case before the Massachusetts Supreme Court, because it's a witch hunt you see. Yes, poor defenseless Paul Shanley was "railroaded" and it's just not FAIR. And yet this question remains - what possible motive could someone have to witch hunt a 71 year old defrocked priest? What could be the motive to lie and somehow manufacture 1600 incriminating church documents?
If, as Paul Shanley claims, his victim had a false recovered memory, how did they ALL have similar memories of him? Reported long before they were repressed and then remembered? Paul Shanley wrote:
"People shouldn't put such hope in a mere man, any man. It's almost sacrilegious. If they knew the madness in me, festering below the surface, they would join the ranks of my accusers.''Some people said they were afraid of Shanley, but others confronted him on some of his behaviors to which he replied
"No one can touch me"But they could. Unfortunately it took 40 years.
The Church settled with multiple Shanley victims prior to him ever stepping into a court of law. What possible motive could his victim have for lying? Certainly not money. He already had that. Perhaps the better way to put the question would be "Who had more at stake?"
"No one will believe you if you tell." But a jury of 12 did.
"No one can touch me" And yet someone did. Paul Shanley made a tragic error. He forgot that scared little 6 year old boys grow up to be men.
HT to Mr. Leaves