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Spotlight Report

Law ordered to give deposition on Shanley

Daylong session set for June 5; site to be named

By Matt Carroll, Globe Staff, 4/18/2002

Paving the way for a rare proceeding, a Superior Court judge yesterday ordered Cardinal Bernard F. Law to give sworn testimony about how he handled assignments of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, who is accused of sexually molesting a Newton youth.

The all-day deposition is scheduled for June 5. A site had not been determined, but the cardinal's residence in Brighton is one location under consideration. While archbishops and bishops in the United States have been deposed before, there has been no public mention of a cardinal being deposed in recent years.

The deposition is part of a lawsuit filed in Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge by Gregory Ford, who accuses Shanley of molesting him. Ford contends Law knew of previous molestations when he allowed Shanley to remain as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton until 1989.

A settlement in the case with the Ford family could stave off the deposition. However, Rodney Ford, Gregory's father, and attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. vowed not to settle the case.

''No amount of money can stop us from getting at the truth,'' said Ford, after the hearing. ''This was never about money. It was about holding people responsible and accountable for what they did to my son.'' The Ford family said they will attend the deposition.

MacLeish said he will ask the judge to videotape the deposition and to release it to the public. He also intends to meet with lawyers for the archdiocese over documents which MacLeish said are missing.

At a deposition, a lawyer asks the questions of a person who is under oath, with a stenographer and a lawyer for the witness present. A judge is not normally present, but Superior Court Judge Leila A. Kern said in this case she would be available by telephone in the event of problems.

Also yesterday, for the first time lawyers appeared for Shanley, who is accused of abuse in the suit, but is not a defendant. At the request of attorney Joseph Balliro, a hearing will be held May 1 on the confidentiality of Shanley's medical documents. The archdiocese has not turned over the documents to the plaintiffs, citing confidentiality.

Shanley most recently lived in San Diego, where the former Boston ''street priest'' served as a volunteer with the San Diego police. However, he disappeared shortly after news reports of allegations that he had sexually abused boys.

Frank Mondano, another Shanley lawyer, declined after the hearing to reveal his client's whereabouts.

Matt Carroll can be reached at mcarroll@globe.com.

This story ran on page A14 of the Boston Globe on 4/18/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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