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
9/12/2014 Violence Against Women Act Turns 20 - Saturday will be the 20th Anniversary of the groundbreaking federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Passed in 1994, VAWA was the first piece of federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday issued a proclamation commemorating the VAWA anniversary. . . .
9/12/2014 Indiana Woman Charged With Feticide For Premature Delivery - An Indiana woman has been charged with feticide after she delivered prematurely and sought hospital treatment.
Purvi Patel, 33, sought help at an emergency room for vaginal bleeding where it was discovered that she had delivered prematurely at home. . . .