The trial against Paul Shanley, a 73-year-old defrocked Catholic priest facing three counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child, begins tomorrow. These charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. Shanley remains one of the only priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston indicted in the abuse scandal uncovered in 2002. With many of the allegations centering around events which took place decades before, legal experts are predicting a difficult case for prosecutors, reports The Washington Post.
In addition, only one of the original four alleged victims will testify against Shanley, a third accuser having been formally dropped from the case last week. Jury selection has further complicated the suit as many potential jurors struggle with impartiality. "It's what we've all experienced over the last three years," a prospective juror told Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel. "I have this slant now where I just look at the archdiocese and I shake my head," reports The Boston Globe. Despite these difficulties, a jury of eight women and eight men was settled upon on Thursday.
Victims' advocates remain hopeful, viewing an acquittal as devastating. According to the The Washington Post, David Clohessy, national director of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests, stated, “If Shanley walks, it will cause already deeply wounded victims, who mustered the strength to come forward, to feel hopeless."
Media Resources: Associated Press 1/24/05; Boston Globe 1/19/05; Washington Post 1/18/05
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .