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Father Paul Shanley Arrested in San Diego

Aired May 2, 2002 - 11:14   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We've got another breaking story that may complicate matters for one person in particular, and perhaps even the lot (ph) of the Catholic Church. This morning, we're getting words moments ago about the arrest of the Reverend Paul Shanley, the priest who was at the center of many allegations of sexual abuse in Boston.

Let's check in now from Boston, with our Jason Carroll, who's got the latest angle for us.

Jason, what's the word there?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're just getting this information in right now, Leon.

Apparently, the Associated Press is reporting that father Paul Shanley was arrested in San Diego on warrants issued here in Massachusetts. Prosecutors here in Massachusetts say that Shanley has been charged with three counts of rape of a child, this, again, according to the Associated Press. A press conference is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time here in Massachusetts.

Shanley was actually, Leon, scheduled to be deposed today, on a civil suit involving Greg Ford and his parents. Greg Ford has been alleging all along that father Paul Shanley sexually abused him when he was a child. The Fords were able to get the archdiocese of Boston to release hundreds of documents on father Paul Shanley's past, in fact, some 1,600 pages of documents about father Paul Shanley. These documents were very, very damaging. These documents show that Shanley favored having sex men and boys. These documents showed that the archdiocese of Boston had been warned on numerous occasions about some of the serious allegations that father Shanley has been facing for the past several years.

Once, again the documents were so damaging that some in the community have Boston have been calling for Boston's cardinal Bernard Law to resign to step down for his handling of the priest scandal here in Boston.

But once, again, all of this starting because of the arrest have Paul Shanley. That happening, again, today in San Diego.

Once again, just to repeat, prosecutors in Massachusetts say that he has, in fact, been charged with three counts of rape of a child. We will try to get more information on this. As we get it, we will pass to you.

HARRIS: Very interesting. This will complicate matters greatly for the Catholic Church and those who've been trying to come up with solution for allegations of sexual abuse.

CARROLL: Absolutely.

HARRIS: Jason, I know this is early, and I don't want to try to stump you on this one, but I'm wondering whether or not there's any hint as to how the Catholic Church is going to be cooperating in this case. Or this matter and if it will spread from this case, and as you know, this matter, and if it's going to spread from this, because as you know, it just was a matter of a couple of weeks ago we all heard the pope says that this kind of activity is rightfully considered a crime by society.

And now this is clear signal that the society here does consider it a crime. It's going to act on it. What's the Catholic Church going end up doing about this is the big question?

CARROLL: Well, that is a very good question. I can tell you that some time ago the attorney general here in the state of Massachusetts had indicated that it was very likely that criminal charges would eventually be brought against some of these priests that have been accused of sexual abuse.

So it stands to reason that the Catholic Church is -- really doesn't have a choice. They are going to have to cooperate with authorities. In fact, they have said that they would do all that they can to cooperate with authorities. They say they've been cooperating by trying to come up with all of these documents and turn over all these documents as quick as they can with regards to father Paul Shanley.

So it really at this point, we are just going to have to see what sort of details come out of this and get the church's reaction to that.

HARRIS: With the release of all of these document, you can't help but think about the old story about Pandora's Box. This could get really ugly if one more of these documents come out and reveal any more ugly truths.

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