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Judge Orders Boston Cardinal to Tell All

Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney said she had "significant concerns" as to whether Law would be available for a deposition "unless it is taken soon" because the pope might order him to the Vatican at any time.

She said that if the pope orders Law to the Vatican, "he must go."

Rejecting a request by Law's attorneys for more time to prepare their case, the judge said there was no reason to delay the deposition. Law was ordered to give a sworn deposition on Wednesday starting at 9 a.m.

The judge's order came after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced Friday it was backing out of a settlement reached with 86 people who allege they had been molested as boys by now-defrocked priest John Geoghan.

Mitchell Garabedian, who represents the Geoghan victims, said the judge had concerns that if Law "leaves the country, he may not come back."

There was no immediate reaction from the cardinal or the archdiocese on whether there might be an appeal or other legal attempts to postpone the session.

Garabedian, who had asked for the emergency hearing, said he wanted to ask Law "what he knew and when he knew it" regarding Geoghan's sexual abuse of boys a couple of decades ago.

Law reportedly transferred Geoghan from one parish to another despite knowing that he had been accused of raping boys, a decision he later admitted was a "mistake." Geoghan was convicted earlier this year of molesting a boy and was sentenced to from nine to 10 years in prison.

Until Friday, Garabedian thought he had a binding agreement with the church to settle his clients' cases, a deal that could cost the archdiocese between $15 million and $30 million.

The Finance Council of the archdiocese, however, refused to go along. It cited concerns that a growing number of alleged victims coming forward could eventually bankrupt the archdiocese.

Sweeney, who said it was her understanding that all barriers to the settlement had been resolved, said she would be present at the deposition in her courtroom so that she could resolve any legal questions that might come up.

The session is to be videotaped.

Meanwhile, there was another development late Monday involving an alleged serial homosexual ex-priest from Boston.

Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley said Paul Shanley, 71, arrested last week in San Diego, was to return to Boston Monday night for arraignment Tuesday in Cambridge on child rape charges.

Prosecutors said that between 1983 and 1990, Shanley raped a boy at a parish church in Newton starting when the child was just 6.

He was arrested without incident as a fugitive on a Newton police warrant charging him with three counts of child rape.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Suffolk Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney said she had significant concerns as to whether Law would be available for a deposition unless it is taken soon because the pope might order him to the Vatican at any time. She said that if the pope orders Law to the...
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2002-00-06
Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM
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