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SJC to hear appeal of Shanley conviction

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Posted: 1/30/2009

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BOSTON (AP) -- The highest court in Massachusetts has agreed to hear an appeal from a former priest who was a key figure in Boston’s clergy sex abuse scandal.

Paul Shanley is serving a 12- to 15-year prison sentence for repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s.

A Superior Court judge rejected his bid for a new trial in November.

Shanley’s lawyer said Jan. 26 that the Supreme Judicial Court has agreed to hear Shanley’s appeal directly, bypassing the Appeals Court. No date has been set for that hearing.

The victim testified he did not remember the sexual abuse by Shanley until 2002, when memories came rushing back amid media coverage of the clergy scandal. Shanley’s lawyer argues the theory of repressed memory is a “hypothetical phenomenon” rejected by the scientific community.