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While Law Testifies in One Court, Another Calls for Priest’s Record

By Elizabeth Mehren
LOS ANGELES TIMES -- As two alleged victims of a pedophile priest looked on, Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law on Monday heatedly denied that he had been negligent in failing to keep the Rev. John J. Geoghan away from children.

“You could see it in his eyes that he was getting a little bit temperamental,” said 27-year-old Patrick McSorley, one of 86 plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit against Law and the archdiocese.

The cardinal “seemed kind of frazzled” during the third day of his deposition, added Mark Keane, 33, who has claimed that Geoghan abused him as well. “I think Cardinal Law is accustomed to being in complete control. Today he wasn’t.”

Law’s testimony -- taken at the chancery of Boston’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese -- came on the same day that a judge in Cambridge, Mass., ordered the archdiocese to hand over the psychiatric and medical records of another alleged pedophile priest, the Rev. Paul Shanley.

The now-defrocked Geoghan is serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for fondling a boy at a community swimming pool. His trial and conviction in January ignited a sweeping scandal over clerical sexual abuse that has included shocking disclosures about Shanley, a 71-year-old retired priest who was arrested earlier this month in California. Shanley has pleaded not guilty to three counts of child rape.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey had no comment on the cardinal’s testimony Monday, nor on the court order in the Shanley case. Shanley’s attorney, Frank Mondano, did not return a call seeking comment.

Middlesex Superior Court Justice Janet Sanders ruled Monday that by turning his records over to the archdiocese, Shanley had waived the right to keep them private. A hearing Tuesday will determine if the documents will be made public.

Shanley is a central figure in the sex abuse scandal that has led to calls for Law’s resignation.