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TV crew confronts priest in San Diego

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jim Smith

BOSTON — A television crew of WBZ-TV in Boston located accused pedophile priest Paul Shanley in San Diego Monday night and confronted him with cameras rolling. An obviously stunned and shaken Shanley fled the scene in his car without answering any questions. He covered his face with two jackets as he drove off, leaving behind a male roommate, who also had no comment.

For weeks, rumors had been circulating that Shanley and a male partner were traveling abroad, possibly in Thailand. Shanley had moved to the San Diego area in the late 1990s after his application to run a Catholic-affiliated guest house in New York City, the Leo House, was rejected by the late Cardinal John O’Connor.

Among church documents released last week to lawyers for an alleged victim of Shanley was a letter written to him in February 1979 by Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, who implied that Shanley was attempting to blackmail the cardinal by going public with alleged homosexual activity at St. John’s Seminary.

In that letter to Shanley, who was resisting efforts by Medeiros to reassign him from is ministry as a “street priest” to a suburban parish in Newton, Medeiros wrote: “I shall pass over in amazed but laughable silence the threats you invoke against me concerning further public pronouncements — this time about our Seminary.”

Shanley had publicly condoned and promoted sex between men and boys at public forums in Boston and Rochester, N.Y., in the late 1970s.

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Medeiros did eventually transfer Shanley to the Newton parish St. John the Evangelist, later in 1979, and Cardinal Bernard Law elevated him to pastor of that church in 1985.

During that assignment, Shanley allegedly repeatedly raped a young boy in the church rectory over a six-year period.

No charges have yet been brought against Shanley, although he is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

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