After 12 years behind bars, the former Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of child rape charges was released from prison on Friday, according to Jay Dias of the Massachusetts Department Of Correction.
Paul Shanley, now 86, was convicted in 2005 of two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child and two counts of rape and abuse of a child, according to the sex offender registry. With his release, he will begin 10 years of supervised probation, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement.
Shanley was one of a number of priests convicted of abuse charges in the wake of reporting from The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team that revealed the Catholic Church’s pedophile priest scandal.
Shanley’s release sparked backlash from a group representing victims of the scandal.
“Age, a change of title or location doesn’t change a pedophile,” said Barbara Dorris, managing director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “For now, I just hope the officials who housed him, employed him, and protected him have an obligation to make sure this never happens again.
“We would hope that he is placed in a treatment center — they have them all over the country — and that he has no access to children, because in the end this is about protecting the children.”
As part of his release, Shanley’s information is on the online sex offender registry as a level-three offender. A photo of him from May shows the ex-priest has grown a white chin-strap beard since his time in court 12 years ago.
Shanley was convicted of repeatedly raping a boy from his parish in the Boston suburb of Newton in the 1980s. The accuser, at the time of trial a 27-year-old firefighter, said the abuse began when he was 6 years old.
For The Boston Globe’s reporting, the paper was granted the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for public service, and the story was depicted in the 2015 Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”