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Trial begins for defrocked Boston priest at center of abuse scandal

[JURIST] The trial against defrocked priest Paul Shanley [Boston Globe profile] began Tuesday, with Shanley facing rape and assault and battery charges. The prosecution formally dropped another accuser from the case, however, leaving only one accuser as the trial proceeds. The third accuser was dropped from the case after prosecutors could not locate him since an October hearing in the case. Shanley, 73, is one of only several priests accused of abuse who faces criminal charges because the statute of limitations on the charges was tolled when he left Massachussetts. He was defrocked in May 2004 [JURIST report], although church officials allegedly knew of sexual abuse allegations against Shanley when he was transferred to a California parish. That action eventually led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law from the Boston Archdiocese [official website]. AP has more.

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