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#302367 - 09/10/09 02:48 AM Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories
myboyhoodfears Offline

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 457
Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories.

BOSTON - Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, one of the central figures in the clergy sex abuse scandal, was convicted after a 27-year-old man tearfully described how the popular priest used to pull him out of catechism classes and rape him, beginning when he was just 6 years old.

The victim said he did not remember the abuse for two decades, until 2002, when memories came rushing back as he saw media reports about the clergy scandal unfolding in Boston.

Now Shanley is challenging his conviction based on an ongoing debate in the psychiatric community over the validity and reliability of repressed memories. The highest court in Massachusetts will hear Shanley's appeal Thursday.

The case is being closely watched by experts on both sides of the issue.

Nearly 100 scientists, psychiatrists and researchers have signed a friend-of-the court brief denouncing the theory of repressed-recovered memories. Another group has submitted a brief supporting the theory.

Shanley's lawyer, Robert Shaw Jr., argues that Shanley deserves a new trial because the jury relied on misleading, "junk science" testimony about repressed memories by prosecution witnesses.

"His conviction rests upon a theory that is false, that has not been shown to exist and has been rejected by the scientific community," Shaw said.

"They needed repressed memories to normalize for the jury what was otherwise an extraordinary assertion that he could be completely oblivious that this ever happened and then remember it 20 years later," Shaw said.

The clergy sex abuse crisis erupted in Boston in 2002 after church records were made public showing that church officials had reports of priests molesting children, but kept the complaints secret, shuffling some priests from parish to parish rather than removing them.

Known as 'street priest'
Shanley, now 78, was known in the 1960s and 1970s as a "street priest" who reached out to Boston's troubled youth. Internal records showed that church officials were aware of sexual abuse complaints against him as early as 1967.

The crisis, which led to the resignation of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, spread as similar sexual abuse complaints were uncovered in dioceses across the country.

A wave of lawsuits led to massive settlements, including a record $660 million settlement in 2007 with more than 500 alleged victims in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and an $85 million settlement in 2003 with more than 550 victims in the Archdiocese of Boston.

All told, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church has paid more than $2.6 billion in settlements and related expenses since 1950, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The victim in the Shanley case received a $500,000 settlement from the Boston archdiocese about a year before Shanley went on trial in the criminal case.

Prosecutors originally charged Shanley with sexually abusing four men when they were children in Newton during the 1980s. They later dropped three of the men from the case. All four men said they recovered memories of the abuse years later.

Post Nubilia Pheobus

#302369 - 09/10/09 02:57 AM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: myboyhoodfears]
myboyhoodfears Offline

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 457
During Shanley's 2005 trial, the remaining victim broke down and cried as he testified in graphic detail that Shanley raped and groped him in the church bathroom, the rectory, the confessional and the pews from age 6 to 12.

"It felt awful," he testified. "He told me nobody would ever believe me if I told anybody."

Shanley was convicted of child rape and indecent assault and battery. He is now serving a 12- to 15-year prison sentence.

A judge last year rejected Shanley's request for a new trial, finding that the theory of repressed-recovered memories, though controversial, is "generally accepted by the relevant scientific community of mental health professionals."

Shanley's lawyer appealed, and the state Supreme Judicial Court agreed to take the case.

The controversy began about two decades ago, as some psychotherapy patients began describing recovering long-repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. Some experts questioned the reliability of such memories, and there were several successful, high-profile malpractice lawsuits against therapists who practiced recovered memory therapy.

Earlier cases involving memories
One of the best-known cases of recovered memory involved false accusations of abuse against the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago.

Steven Cook filed a lawsuit in 1993, accusing Bernardin and another priest of molesting him in the 1970s while he was a pre-seminary student in Cincinnati. Cook recanted several months later, saying his allegations were false memories that took shape during therapy. Bernardin died of cancer three years after the accusations surfaced.

A highly publicized case in California also fueled national debate over the reliability of repressed memory.

In 1990, George Franklin Jr. was convicted of first-degree murder after his daughter, Eileen Franklin Lipsker, said she had recovered a memory of seeing her father kill her 8-year-old best friend in 1969.

The murder of Susan Nason had gone unsolved until Lipsker, then 29, testified that an image of her father raising a rock over her best friend's head flashed through her mind.

Franklin spent 6 1/2 years in prison before a federal judge overturned his conviction in 1995, saying his lawyers should have been allowed to introduce newspaper coverage of the murder as a possible source of his daughter's knowledge of details of the killing. Prosecutors decided against a retrial after learning that Lipsker had falsely accused her father of a second murder.

Dr. Harrison Pope, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School and one of the leading critics of the theory, said he believes testimony about repressed-recovered memories should not be allowed in courtrooms.

"If you are going to present scientific opinions to a jury of non-scientists, it has to be science that is well-documented, where the scientific community agrees on it. You can't use so-called junk science in front of a jury," said Pope, one of the experts who signed a friend-of-the-court brief.

Post Nubilia Pheobus

#302378 - 09/10/09 03:45 AM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: myboyhoodfears]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 2615
Loc: Central PA
Ugh.... this whole challenge insults survivors everywhere and does nothing but make them even more afraid to come forward.

I know for a fact that the things I've remembered did indeed occur. Everything in my life pointed to abuse having occurred even if I hadn't brought it back to the surface yet. All the symptoms were there for sure.

I hope the state supreme court doesn't bungle this!

#302379 - 09/10/09 03:54 AM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: JustScott]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Ah yes!

The fox denies the vulnerability of chickens!


pufferfish whistle

#302382 - 09/10/09 04:06 AM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: pufferfish]
myboyhoodfears Offline

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 457
i got this article from MSNBC,...i found it troubling that they didn't include anything from the opposing side...nor did they include any of the numerous corroborated instances of repressed memories.

"In a 1996 ruling, a US District Court allowed repressed memories entered into evidence in court cases. Jennifer Freyd writes that Ross Cheit's case of suddenly remembered sexual abuse is one of the most well-documented cases available for the public to see. Cheit prevailed in two lawsuits, located five additional victims and tape-recorded a confession"

Post Nubilia Pheobus

#302385 - 09/10/09 04:55 AM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: myboyhoodfears]
wes-b Offline

Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 438
Loc: Western, Canada

Another reason for us survivors and all PTSD survivors to keep walking the path and speaking of the horrors that were visited upon us and the truth of our built in protection mechanism of denial keeping memories from us until we are more able to handle them... say without killing ourselves due to the sheer horror of these suppressed memories.

Hell if I remembered my grandfather raping me any earlier I would very likely have killed myself !!!

part of healing and recovery is lifting the veils of ignorance through honesty and transparency.

Love to each of my brothers of the wounds.


Happy to be a recovering survivor. :-)

Continuing to meet more of my fellows as I "Trudge the Road of Happy Destiny".

My Story, 1st pass

#302399 - 09/10/09 10:32 AM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: wes-b]
pluckmemory Offline

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 562
Shanley was also a member of NAMBLA and spoke at their convention about the importance of man/boy love. I believe while still a priest he operated a hotel for gay men in California.

Shanley's horrifying activities against children are also documented in the excellent book "Our Fathers" by Newsweek reporter David France. There was also a shocking profile on Shanley in Vanity Fair a few years ago. That story talks about how lawyer Eric Macleish, who represented many victims of Boston priests, discovered that Shanley was an active member of NAMBLA.

Edited by pluckmemory (09/10/09 10:37 AM)

#302415 - 09/10/09 03:28 PM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: pluckmemory]
GeorgeMartin Offline

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 206
Loc: USA
Well now, this is an article I could sink my teeth into. Repressed, opressed, or just plain forgotten-only-to-be-remembered-years-later memories of trauma actually DOES HAPPEN. How do I know. Because I damned well lived it. Dissociation has a way of doing that to a person. I heard voices in my head when I was 11.5 years old and then everything about the CSA was "forgotten". Even hearing the people that lived inside my head was literally forgotten, so that I could function. Then by 1986 onward "little" things in my life experiences totally outside my awareness at the time, were happening that "woke these voices back up" like out of a dead sleep or something. By July or August 1987 while in Basic Training I was literally hearing thes voices in my head tell me about the abuse the body endured. Slowly over time I began to figure things about but I mentally crashed, had to go on disability and been trying desperately to figure out what happened and why. NAMBLA and this Paul Shanley fella right along with this False Memory "business" having started where else but the State I was raised and abused in....WA State....they can all go to Hell! Denial and Evil coexist for sure.

And here is the crux of my own history. I sought proof of my abuse, both mental, physical, and sexual from not only "that family" but also from Children's Protective Service's" in Port Angeles and over in Idaho. Over 21 years I have gained many documents and insights into my childhood I never knew before. Its a work in progress, but I know little by little the deceit and deception and cunning ways of those that harmed this body, or hid their wrong doings in C.P.S. Don't you think for one minute those that imply they protect children, are the very one's abusing the children, and hiding the truth from the public the very reality of their actions and words against the abused. Paul Shanley ought to rot in jail for what he did to those boys and he knows very well that he done abused them! Atleast those victims got justice and some vindication! There was alot of paper hiding and paper shredding going on in my case years ago. I'm still trying to figure things out in my mind about when they got hold of me. Course, you think any legal representative or lawyer or Judge would hear a case like mine in Washington State?, no. Scares the sh** right out of them because I do have the evidence against those that did this sh**, and those that "protected" the abusers. Some are dead, some are alive still. All I can do is pray they get caught for abuse later on, and then get notification of such happening and notify the proper persons that there is one more victim out there who will not be silenced. ME.

#302430 - 09/10/09 07:45 PM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: GeorgeMartin]
claretblue Offline

Registered: 08/30/09
Posts: 97
Loc: UK
Don't know if this link has ever been posted on here before, but I found it most helpful the way it discusses memories of sexual abuse, and 'Implicit memories'. There's also a whole host of other links on his site dealing with Survivor issues.

But the memory one is this-:


#303509 - 09/21/09 10:19 AM Re: Jailed ex-priest challenges repressed memories [Re: claretblue]
melliferal Offline

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
I'm conflicted over this. I mean, not this particular case - NAMBLA? Kinda hard to get around that. But recovered memories in general. I know they exist and that people certainly can spontaneously remember things they formerly had forgotten; but on the other hand, I also know that people who recover memories with "assistance" from others, especially when things like hypnosis are involved, can come up with complete fantasy and end up thinking it's actual memory. There's dozens of people walking around fully convinced by their "therapists" that they have genuine memories of being abducted by space aliens, or of being Charlemagne in a former life.

Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

Oprah's resources for male survivors

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