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Paul Shanley, key figure in clergy sexual abuse scandal, dies at 89


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BRAINTREE -- Former priest Paul R. Shanley who was a key figure in the Archdiocese of Boston's clergy abuse scandal died on Oct. 28 at the age of 89 in a hospice facility in Ware.

The Associated Press reported that the Ware Police Department confirmed Shanley's death, but did not say how he died. Boston Fox affiliate WFXT-TV reported the cause of death as heart failure.

Formerly a priest of Boston, Shanley was laicized in 2004. The following year, a jury found Shanley guilty on two counts of raping a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. His sentence was 12-15 years in prison. He was released from the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater in 2017 on good behavior, and was to have 10 years of supervised probation.

The archdiocese released a statement on Nov. 6 after learning of Shanley's death: "The harm caused to so many by Paul Shanley is immeasurable. His victims showed great courage in exposing his crimes and fighting for justice both within the criminal justice system and the Church. We are indebted to Shanley's victims and all victims of clergy abuse for what they have done to stop the abuse, assure that the Church supports healing for those abused, and puts the protection of children at the top of our priorities."

The archdiocese added that its Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach is available to help those who were abused by clergy and their families, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. The office can be contacted at 617-746-5985.

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