Paul Richard Shanley

Summary of Case: Shanley's career had four stages. He spent the 1960s as a junior parish priest at St. Patrick's in Stoneham (a suburb north of Boston) and at St. Francis of Assisi in Braintree (a working class suburb south of Boston). In the 1970s he was a "street priest" designated as the Boston archdiocese's minister to "alienated youth." In the 1980s he was a priest and pastor at St. Jean's in the working class Nonantum section of Newton, west of Boston. And in the 1990s he was a fill-in priest in the San Bernardino diocese and an acting director of Leo House, a Catholic hostel in the New York archdiocese. He is accused of sexual abuse in each decade. His alleged victims were mostly male, but some women have come forward. Ages of the alleged victims at the time of the abuse range from 6 to 26, and the alleged offenses range from fondling to forced oral sex and anal rape. Shanley is now free on $300,000 bail, awaiting the Commonwealth v. Shanley criminal trial.

We first present a table that correlates Shanley's assignments with selected accusations made against him and with relevant archdiocesan documents and news reports. Then we offer links to key discussions of his career and to more than 70 key documents.

1/25/31 in the Dorchester section of Boston MA
Seminary: St. John's Seminary in Brighton MA, class of 1960
Ordained: 2/2/60 at Holy Name church in West Roxbury MA
Incardinated: Boston MA


Start Stop Parish Town / Accusations State Position / Colleagues Notes
2/16/60 6/20/67 St. Patrick's


Bryan Schultz alleges he was abused by Shanley in 1965-67.
• Rev. Arthur Chabot sent an allegation of abuse by Shanley to the archdiocese in 1967. Shanley denied the accusation. (See below for a linked list of these and other Shanley documents.)
Alleged victims from this period whose names are known include Daniel Brennan (age 14 at the time), Bud Devlin (age 12), and Bill O'Toole (age 12). Devlin's mother wrote to Cardinal Cushing in 1961 about the alleged abuse. Neither her letter nor evidence of two other attempts to reach the archdiocese are in Shanley's file.
Ms. Dale Walsh alleges that Shanley raped her in the early 1960s when she was 14. Walsh says she knows of other female victims from this period.
MA 5/5, 4/5, then 5/5. Pastor was:
- Rt. Rev. Msgr. John S. Sexton.
Other priests were:
- Rev. George F. Smith
- Rev. David M. Burke
- Rev. John J. White
- Rev. John M. Toomey
- Rev. Luke A. Farley, J.C.L.
The parish school was staffed by the Sisters of Providence; in 1960-61, there were 449 boys and 437 girls.
6/20/67 6/18/69 St. Francis of Assisi


• Arthur Austin alleges that abuse by Shanley began during a counselling session here, when Austin was 20, and continued for 6 years.
• Shanley allegedly abused an 11-year-old boy, after his mother sent him to Shanley for counseling.
MA 2/3. Pastor was Rev. Arthur I. Norton. Other priest was John H. Curley.  
6/18/69 8/25/69 St. Anthony's Allston MA Technical Assistant. Pastor was Rev. Charles J. Foley. Other priests were Rev. Timothy J. Murphy, with either Rev. Francis J. O'Neill or Rev. Jay M. Mullin. Rev. Thomas M. Ferrick and Rev. Robert S. Mottau might have been in residence. Shanley's archdiocesan assignment record seems to indicate that the campus ministry at Boston State College (see next entry) began while Shanley was briefly at St. Anthony's. The record also gives 9/25/69 as an alternative stop date. See Shanley's own description of this period.
8/25/69 4/5/70 Boston State College Boston MA Campus Ministry In residence at St. Philip's, Warwick House, Roxbury
4/5/70 5/29/76 Warwick House
at St. Philip's

• Halfway through this 9-year ministry in 1974, a mother gave Cardinal Medeiros her young son's diary, detailing initial abuse by Shanley that began during a counseling session at the priest's 391 Beacon Street apartment. The abuse allegedly continued for 7 years, during which Shanley shared the victim with others
MA Minister to "Alienated Youth"

Shanley's ministry and Warwick House are not mentioned in the Directories for these years, which assign him to St. Philip's. Various residences, according to his archdiocesan record, including:
- St. Philip's (see previous entry, perhaps until 5/29/76)
- 406 Marlborough St., Boston
- 128 Tremont St., South Braintree (in 1975)
- 391 Beacon St., Boston (in 1975)
- 49 Milton St., Milton (1976-77)
- AMPRO, 101 Tremont St., Boston (1976)
- Exodus Center, 1200 Brush Hill Rd., Milton (1976-77)
5/29/76 8/77 Exodus Center Milton MA Minister to "Alienated Youth"

Exodus Center claimed to be a "retreat for homosexuals and their families".
Not so listed in the 1977-78 Directories, which place Shanley at St. Columban's Major Seminary, whose address, however, 1200 Brush Hill Rd., is the address for Exodus Center given in Shanley's archdiocesan record.
8/77 4/15/79 49 Milton Street Milton MA Minister to "Alienated Youth"

Cardinal Medeiros receives a 11/17/77 letter complaining about a speech that Shanley gave in Rochester and enclosing a description of the speech.

In December 1978, Shanley participated in a gathering billed as "the first ever semi-public gathering in North America of men who are involved in relationships with male youngsters."

On 2/12/79 Medeiros writes a detailed letter to the Vatican about Shanley, homosexuality, and the seminaries.

An article about the 12/78 meeting and another about "Shanley vs. Medeiros" were sent to Medeiros on 4/2/79.
Address provided in archdiocesan record.

Shanley is not listed in the 1979 Directory.
4/15/79 11/15/83 St. John the Evangelist


Shanley allegedly abused 21-year-old John Harris in 1979, during a counseling relationship.
In 1981, Shanley allegedly abused a troubled boy whom he was driving back from Newton to a farm for boys in Warren MA. A parishioner tried repeatedly to alert Law and his managers, but was systematically ignored.
Shanley is accused of abusing Greg Ford and 3 other boys, beginning in 1983 when Ford was 6 years old and continuing for 6 years.
MA Associate Pastor  
11/15/83 1/1/85 St. John the Evangelist Newton MA Administrator The letter of appointment from Bishop Daily anticipated "zealous and fruitful ministry" for Shanley.
1/1/85 1/22/90 St. John the Evangelist Newton

• In 1988, Bishop Banks received an allegation that Shanley suggested sadomasochistic sex to a mental patient in 1987. When confronted, Shanley was irate and Banks decided "there really was nothing I could do."
MA Pastor

Law received a 4/29/85 letter complaining about another speech by Shanley in Rochester.
The letter from Cardinal Law making Shanley pastor of St. John the Evangelist anticipated "zealous and fruitful ministry" for Shanley.

In 1988, Shanley and Rev. John J. White bought property together in Palm Springs.
1/22/90 3/1/96       Sick leave  
4/9/90 6/26/90 Our Lady of Solitude
151 W. Alejo Rd.
Palm Springs CA Shanley is not listed in the 1990 Directory. Listed priests are:
- Rev. William Erstad
- Rev. Norman E. Trembley (Canada)
- Rev. Msgr. George M. Rice (pastor emeritus)
- In res., Rev. Arnold Fox, O.S.B.
6/26/90 11/2/93 St. Anne's San Bernardino

Shanley said Mass at Big Bear Lake CA in 1990 as a weekend supply priest, and allegedly began abusing Kevin English then. The only church in Big Bear Lake was St. Joseph's, where Rev. Francis E. Lowe was listed in the 1990-93 Directories as pastor and sole priest.
CA The pastor was Rev. Lawrence F. Grajek, who calls Shanley's 3/14/91 description of his duties "an outright lie—he was only a weekender." Boston bishop Banks transferred Shanley to San Bernardino as a "priest in good standing."

Shanley wrote to McCormack on 3/14/91 after the latter visited him, describing his (Shanley's) routine, including youth retreats, and thanking McCormack for being a "go-between" and enclosing the "latest batch" for Rev. Frederick J. Ryan, then vice chancellor of the Boston archdiocese.

Civil complaints against Shanley began to be filed in 1993, and McCormack prepared to notify the San Bernardino bishop and bring Shanley back to Boston.
11/3/93 2/14/94 Campion Residence and Renewal Center Weston MA    
2/14/94 2/95 Whispering Palms and Cabana Club Resort
970 Camino Parocela
Palm Springs CA   During an assessment at the Institute of Living, Shanley "admits to the substance of complaints."

The address, but not the name of the Palm Springs property, is given in Shanley's archdiocesan record. Shanley seems to have lived in Palm Springs since 1990, not at the St. Anne's rectory.
2/95 8/15/97 Leo House New York City NY Assistant to the Executive Director, Dr. Francis J. Pilecki. Staffed by the Sisters of St. Agnes, led by Sr. Anne Karlin, who wrote to Cardinal Law on 12/14/95 when an alleged victim of Shanley contacted her.

Start date from Flatley's 9/13/95 memo. Shanley's archdiocesan record has him living at Leo House a year later, but in NYC starting 2/27/95.

In his letter granting Shanley senior priest retirement status, effective 3/1/96, Cardinal Law praises Shanley's "impressive record."

3/1/96         Senior priest/retired  

Key Sources: Boston archdiocesan assignment records for Shanley, supplemented from archdiocesan files (see selection below) and the Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy and Sons, 1961-2004). We have collected and posted all the Directory entries that pertain to Shanley. A useful summary of Shanley's career is Maureen Orth, Unholy Communion (August 2002). If you have a dial-up connection, we suggest you access "Unholy Communion" in two easier-to-download parts {1 and 2}. Two other summaries of Shanley's career are Fox Butterfield and Jenny Hontz, A Priest's 2 Faces: Protector, Predator (May 19, 2002), and Cathy Lynn Grossman, Catholics Wonder: How Could a Priest Do This? (May 29, 2002). For Shanley's career in the 1990s in California and New York, see Tatsha Robertson, Shanley Couldn't Outrun His Past (April 19, 2002), and for his vacation travels, see Orth and also Christopher Cox and Robin Washington, Shanley Visited Child-Sex Haven in Thailand (May 7, 2002). The Shanley story was originally broken in Sacha Pfeiffer, Famed "Street Priest" Preyed upon Boys (January 31, 2002). That story triggered Gregory Ford's memories of alleged abuse by Shanley at St. Jean L'Evangeliste (St. John the Evangelist) in Newton, which ultimately led to Shanley's arrest. Shanley had "stopped the clock" by living in California and New York after his departure from St. Jean's. The civil cases of Ford and other complainants from St. Jean's were settled, but the criminal case continues, with a friend of Ford's the sole remaining victim named in the Commonwealth's case. JoAnn Wypijewski, The Passion of Father Paul Shanley (September-October 2004) is a stringent assessment of alleged weaknesses in the Ford case; see Orth, Unholy Communion, however, for other minors whom Shanley is alleged to have abused. A useful review of the interaction of the civil and criminal cases is Ralph Ranalli, Shanley Case Seen Undercut by Events (January 17, 2005). With the criminal trial have come revisionist assessments of Shanley. See Jeannine Gramick, Finding Empathy for Shanley, and David France, The Jury Should Still Be Out on Paul Shanley, with the reply by Maureen Orth, Gramick's Charity to Shanley Is More Than He Deserves (all January 14, 2005).

Selected Shanley Documents

Over 1,600 pages of archdiocesan documents relating to Shanley have been publicly filed in the Ford et al. v. Law et al. civil case. A selection of those documents was filed again as an Addendum to support the plaintiffs' analysis of Boston archdiocesan "pattern and practice" regarding sexual abuse by priests. Below we provide links to the Shanley documents from that Addendum, supplemented with other publicly filed Shanley documents, including several posted by the Boston Globe.

Shanley's Archdiocesan Assignment Record

Affidavit of Bryan Schultz alleging abuse by Shanley at St. Patrick's in Stoneham between 1965 and 1967
Alleged abuse occurred in 1965-67; affidavit dated July 15, 2003

Complaint to Boston archdiocese from Rev. Arthur Chabot that Shanley masturbated a boy in 1966 at a cabin in the Blue Hills

Shanley's denial to chancellor Sexton

Personal Data Form in which Shanley reports interest and experience in youth work

Letter from Shanley complaining about housing problems during his transition from parish work to his "alienated youth" apostolate
August 13, 1969

Letter from Cardinal Cushing appointing Shanley as technical assistant priest in residence at Warwick House
September 25, 1969

Letter from Cardinal Cushing ending Shanley's chaplaincy at Boston State College and making his apostolate with alienated youth full time
March 5, 1970

Memo from Bishop Daily to the archdiocesan personnel director on how to list Shanley's Exodus House assignment in the Catholic Directory
November 4, 1976

Response from archdiocesan personnel director on the Exodus House listing
November 10, 1976

Complaint to Cardinal Medeiros by Jeanne D. Sweeney about Shanley speech in Rochester enclosing description
November 17, 1977

Enclosed account of speech delivered by Shanley in which he discussed homosexuality
October 4, 1977

Bishop Daily's answer to Jeanne D. Sweeney's letter about Shanley's Rochester speech
December 2, 1977

Daily's Responses to Requests for Admissions acknowledge he was aware of Sweeney's letter and many other similar letters, beginning in 1973
Responses were filed January 21, 2003

Article in Gay Community News on Shanley vs. Medeiros
February 10, 1979, apparently received at the chancery April 9, 1979

Article in Gaysweek on Shanley speech at conference on man-boy love
February 12, 1979, apparently received at the chancery April 9, 1979

Deposition of Dr. Edwin H. Cassem regarding Shanley conference statement and other matters (excerpts)
Deposition taken on May 20 and 21, 2003

Letter from Cardinal Medeiros to Vatican about Shanley, homosexuality, and seminaries
February 12, 1979

Letter from NY lawyer alerts Cardinal Medeiros to enclosed articles (see above) about Medeiros and Shanley
April 2, 1979

Cardinal Medeiros' letter to Shanley confirming the end of his ministry to homosexuals and his appointment to St. Jean's in Newton
April 12, 1979

Draft of the Medeiros letter to Shanley with passages on homosexuality and obedience added in Medeiros' handwriting
April 12, 1979

Affidavit of man who alleges Shanley abused him while driving him to a boy's home
Abuse allegedly occurred in 1981; affidavit was made July 16, 2003

Deposition of Jacqueline Gauvreau detailing the 1981 incident and the two occasions on which she reported it to Law (excerpts)
Abuse allegedly occurred in 1981; deposition was taken October 25, 2002

Archdiocesan notes on an interview with Jacqueline Gauvreau about Shanley's alleged abuse of a boy in 1981
Date unknown–pertains to alleged abuse in 1981

Letter to Medeiros asking whether Shanley represented him at the founding conference of NAMBLA
Received May 5, 1983

Another letter to Medeiros about NAMBLA, citing Brownfeld's Homosexual Network
Received July 5, 1983

Letter from Law naming Shanley pastor of St. Jean's in Newton
December 11, 1984

Complaint to Cardinal Law from Wilma M. Higgs about another Shanley speech in Rochester
April 29, 1985

Letter from McCormack to Higgs regretting that she was disturbed by Shanley's talk
May 15, 1985

Letter from McCormack asking whether Shanley would "care to comment" on Wilma Higg's complaint
June 4, 1985

McCormack's note (handwritten at bottom of letter) after he and Shanley discussed Higgs
June 4, 1985

McCormack's Responses to Plaintiffs' Requests for Admissions regarding the Higgs correspondence and other matters
Filed January 6, 2003

Law is deposed on the Higgs correspondence and other matters (excerpts)
Deposition started on June 5, 2002

Law files Responses to Plaintiffs' Requests for Admissions
Filed May 31, 2002

Bryan Schultz, who alleges abuse by Shanley, wrote to Law, identified himself as a victim of several unnamed Boston priests, and asked Law to meet with him
July 10, 1986

In his evasive reply, Law's secretary, Rev. William M. Helmick, ignored Schultz's suggestion of a meeting
August 19, 1986

Schultz writes again to Law, criticizing Helmick's response to his initial letter
August 25, 1986

Helmick is deposed regarding his response to Schultz (excerpts)
Deposition was taken May 22, 2002 and October 9, 2002

Bishop Banks notes a complaint against Shanley that he "came on" to a mental patient, but Banks noted that "there really was nothing I could do"
March 1988

Bishop Banks is deposed about the incident with the mental patient
Incident occurred in March 1988; deposition occurred on November 7, 2002

Law's letter accepting Shanley's resignation as pastor of St. Jean's
December 7, 1989

Bishop Banks recommends Shanley to the San Bernardino diocese as a "priest in good standing"
January 16, 1990

Memo to McCormack from his deputy Rev. James J. McCarthy on the terms of Shanley's leave, with notes
February 2, 1990

McCormack's reply regarding the terms of Shanley's leave
February 6, 1990

McCarthy is deposed on the terms of Shanley's leave (excerpts)
Deposition was taken on September 25, 2002

Shanley's letter to McCormack requesting medical retirement and weekend supply status
May 13, 1990

Law's letter to Shanley extending his sick leave
December 11, 1990

Letter from Shanley thanking McCormack for his visit to the "wild west" and enclosing the "latest batch" for vice chancellor Fred Ryan
March 14, 1991, apparently misdated by Shanley (see chancery stamp)

Rev. McCormack calls Shanley "a sick person" in a letter to Bishop Hughes
December 9, 1991  (52k) [Boston Globe posting]

McCormack's notes for belatedly revealing to the bishop of San Bernardino Shanley's prior history
October 4, 1993

McCormack's summary of Shanley's case (including two accusations) to the Review Board after Shanley was recalled from California
December 6, 1993

Shanley's letter to McCormack discussing a "safe-house for 'warehoused' priests"
January 16, 1994

McCormack's reply about safe houses and a possible move by Shanley to Costa Rica or Mexico
January 24, 1994

Archdiocesan notes on Institute of Living assessment of Shanley who admits to "sexual activity with 4 adolescent males"
March 3, 1994

Review Board recommends that Shanley live out of state with certain provisions
October 3, 1994

Description of Leo House

Letter from Shanley informing archdiocese that he's at Leo House
June 7, 1995

Archdiocesan notes about Shanley's job at Leo House, which would violate a July 1 deadline agreed on with an alleged victim
June 26, 1995

Flatley memo to Law about Shanley as possible director of Leo House, Cardinal O'Connor's misgivings, and Shanley's "not very positive" 1993 assessment at the Institute of Living
September 13, 1995

Flatley memo to NY archdiocesan official mentioning four complainants and stating that Shanley's past history came to be known to the Boston archdiocese in 1993
September 13, 1995

Confidential summary of the Leo House situation
October 10, 1995

Law letter to Shanley about Shanley's "tumultuous year" and the alleged victim who monitors him
November 20, 1995

Letter from Sr. Karlin of Leo House to Law about "this time-bomb"
December 14, 1995

Letter from Flatley to NY archdiocesan official attaching memo and copy of letter to Shanley
January 25, 1996

Flatley memo to file about Shanley's roommate at Leo House and an alleged victim's concerns about Shanley as possible director
January 25, 1996

Toned-down letter from Flatley to Shanley himself
January 25, 1996

Settlement agreement in case of alleged abuse by Shanley
February 18, 1996

Letter from Law to Shanley granting him senior priest/retirement status for his "impressive record"
February 29, 1996

Letter from lawyer Hardoon about his client's concerns regarding Shanley at Leo House
June 18, 1997

Memo telling Law that Cardinal O'Connor has rejected the proposal that Shanley become director of Leo House
June 18, 1997

Law's letter endorsing Shanley for director, not sent because O'Connor decided against it
June 12, 1997

A church official informs Shanley that some of the restrictions on him have been lifted
September 6, 1997  (58k) [Boston Globe posting]

Shanley was deposed and took the fifth (excerpts)
Deposition was taken on December 9, 2002


Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. Return to the top of the Shanley assignment record.

The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Shanley's career history with selected public accusations. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report. We remind our readers that in the U.S. judicial system, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

A Note on Nomenclature: We use the term "assignment record," instead of the more common "service record," because "service" is not an appropriate word for the activities of an abusive priest. Dioceses are often less than forthcoming about the activities of retired priests, but when we can determine those activities, we list them in these assignment records, particularly if they involve ministry. Retired priests remain under obedience to their bishop, and even the activities of laicized priests should be a concern to the diocese.

This assignment record was last updated on 1/19/05.