SAN DIEGO, May 3 (UPI) -- A retired Roman Catholic priest waived extradition rights Friday at a hearing in California and was ordered held without bail pending his return to Massachusetts to face child rape charges.
Paul R. Shanley, 71, a central figure in the pedophile priest sex abuse scandal that has sent shock waves through the Catholic Church in Boston and across the nation, made no comment when he appeared at a short extradition hearing in San Diego.
Public Defender Fred Small, representing Shanley on a fugitive charge, said the accused child molester chose to waive extradition so he can return to Massachusetts "to take care of this matter."
Shanley, dressed in a dark blue prison jumpsuit, stood without expression during the session that lasted about three minutes.
The judge ordered him held away from other prisoners until officials from Massachusetts come to pick him up. That was expected to happen within days. Shanley was arrested Thursday at his home in San Diego on a warrant from Newton, Mass., charging him with three counts of rape of a child.
While prosecutors in Massachusetts did not specifically identify the alleged victim by name, he is believed to be Paul Busa, 24, a former Newton resident. Busa has come forward in the media with allegations he was one of several children molested by Shanley decades ago at a church in Newton.
Until recently a military police officer at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Busa alleged that starting at the age of 6 he was raped on an almost weekly basis over seven years by Shanley at the now closed St. Jean Church in Newton.
The sexual attacks took place in the church rectory, a basement bathroom, and even in the confessional, prosecutors alleged. Busa said he had repressed memories of the incidents until learning in February that another alleged victim, classmate Gregory Ford, 24, had filed a sex-abuse civil suit against Shanley.
Both Busa and Ford are now party to a civil suit filed against Shanley, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and its spiritual leader, Cardinal Bernard Law. In the suit, Busa said he started to repress memories of the alleged abuse almost immediately from the time it began, but that the memories came flooding back when he read about Ford, causing him to have anxiety attacks several times a day that left him at times curled up in a fetal position on the floor. He said he remembered being pulled out of religious class by Shanley, sometimes with another boy and sometimes alone, and then being molested.
Busa said Shanley told him that if he told anyone, no one would take his word against that of a priest.
Ford, who was in the same class with Busa, has alleged similar attacks.
Reacting to the arrest, Ford's mother, Paula, said, "Parents everywhere can sleep a little better tonight knowing that thanks to the arrest of Paul Shanley, he will not be able to do this to another child."
Ford's father, Rodney, called Shanley "a monster."
In Cambridge, Mass., Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley said Thursday the case against Shanley would be presented to a grand jury. While saying she expected indictments to be handed down soon, Coakley emphasized that Shanley "is innocent until proven guilty."
Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who represents Busa, Ford and another unidentified alleged victim, said, "We will never rid ourselves of child molesters like Shanley, but we must rid ourselves of those who protect them."
The suit accuses Law, who has resisted calls to resign, and the archdiocese, of neglect for not protecting children against Shanley.
Some 1,600 internal church documents obtained under court order by MacLeish showed that Law and other higher-ups in the archdiocese knew decades ago about Shanley's abuse of children, yet allowed him to be transferred to other parishes where he continued to have access to children.
When Shanley was transferred to California, church officials there were not informed of his history. A former top deputy to Law, Bishop Robert J. Banks, wrote to the San Bernardino, Calif., diocese a letter assuring officials there that Shanley had no problems while serving in Boston.
Despite documents that showed Shanley openly advocated sexual relations between men and boys, Law wrote a number of glowing letters of recommendations for him. According to some documents, Shanley took part in meetings that lead to the eventual founding of the infamous North American Man-Boy Love Association.
At Thursday's news conference announcing the arrest, Coakley pointedly praised the news media for information that led to Shanley's arrest. She made it clear she moved quickly to file charges against Shanley after a news crew from Boston's WBZ-TV located Shanley in San Diego earlier this week.
For the past several years, Shanley had been working as a police volunteer in San Diego. Last month he was fired from that job after officials were informed of the allegations against him.
If convicted on the child rape charges, Shanley could be sentenced to life in prison.
The Boston archdiocese said in a statement Thursday that the church hoped Shanley's arrest would "bring some level of relief" to the victims.
(Written by Dave Haskell in Boston)