SAN DIEGO – The Rev. Paul Shanley, the retired Boston priest who publicly spoke in favor of having sex with boys and has been accused of repeatedly raping a child over a seven-year period, waived his right to fight extradition Friday and will be returned soon to Massachusetts.
Shanley, 71, one of the most notorious figures in the sex-abuse scandal engulfing the Boston archdiocese, will be held without bail until he is sent to Massachusetts to face charges that could put him in jail for the rest of his life.
Shanley did not make any statement in his brief appearance here Friday before a Superior Court judge, only replying "Certainly" when asked to sign the extradition documents.
"He wanted to go back to Massachusetts to address these charges. That's why he didn't feel it was necessary to delay this proceeding," Public Defender Fred Small said afterward. "He's in a position to know and understand what is taking place."
Police officers from Massachusetts are expected to fly to San Diego to collect Shanley in the next couple of days, said Emily LaGrassa, spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney's office.
Shanley surrendered Thursday at an apartment in San Diego on a warrant charging him with three counts of raping a child during the 1980s.
His arrest was the latest development in a scandal that has tarnished Boston's highest-ranking Catholic leader, Cardinal Bernard Law. Law has faced increasing criticism since about 850 pages in Shanley's personnel files were made public.
The records detailed Shanley's advocacy of sex between men and boys as well as his transfer to several parishes by the archdiocese, despite allegations of child sexual abuse.
After Shanley's arrest, former members of his parish and others in the Massachusetts community where he lived reacted with anger at the former pastor, but also with relief that Shanley was in custody.
"I'm excited no one else will be hurt by him," said Maria Leo, a 36-year-old Catholic mother of two from Newton, Mass., who knows two people who have accused Shanley of abuse. "He won't be victimizing anyone anymore."
According to a source close to the case, the criminal charges against Shanley stem from allegations made by Paul Busa, 24, a former Air Force military policeman. Busa went public with allegations last month, saying he had repressed all memory of the abuse until hearing about a childhood friend who accused Shanley of molesting him.
Neither Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley nor Busa's attorney, Roderick MacLeish, would confirm that Busa's allegations were the basis for the criminal charges.
Coakley said Shanley took a boy out of his religious instruction classes on an almost weekly basis and brought him to the bathroom, across the street to the rectory or to the confessional at St. Jean Parish in Newton to abuse him. Shanley also has been sued by Gregory Ford, 24, and Ford's parents, who claim Shanley repeatedly raped Ford when he was a child.
In a civil lawsuit against the archdiocese, Busa said Shanley began abusing him in 1983, when he was 6, and continued through 1989.
Busa, who declined comment through his attorney, has talked frequently in recent weeks about remembering the alleged abuse. He said he quit his job in the military after suffering a physical and mental breakdown.
"In the beginning, I questioned myself a lot," Busa said in a recent interview. "I thought, 'Was I making this up?' The way my body was reacting, I knew it had happened."
The criminal charges were the first to be filed against Shanley. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted.
The former "street priest," as portrayed in more than 1,600 documents recently released by the archdiocese, actively ministered to Boston's gay community after his 1960 ordination and established a ministry for runaways, drug abusers, drifters and teen-agers struggling with sexual identity.
The documents also reveal a darker side of Shanley's ministry — his endorsement of sex between men and boys, his treatment for a sexually transmitted disease and his attendance at a 1978 conference at which the North American Man-Boy Love Association was apparently created.
Church officials transferred Shanley to Newton in 1980 despite their knowledge of his statements on sex between men and boys, the records show. The records also show they sent him to California in 1990 without warning church leaders there that he had been accused repeatedly of sexually abusing children.
The Boston archdiocese's knowledge of allegations against the priest extend as far back as 1967.
Once in California, Shanley and another former priest, John L. White, operated a Palm Springs, Calif., resort that catered to homosexuals. Until 1993, he was assigned part-time to the San Bernardino Diocese, where he sometimes supervised children. He then moved to San Diego.
Shanley was fired from his volunteer job at the San Diego Police Department after the sex abuse allegations surfaced in Boston.
Shanley has issued no public statements since the case began.
In a statement Thursday, archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said the church hopes the arrest "will bring some level of relief and contribute to the healing of those who have been sexually abused as children and teen-agers, their families and all who suffer during this horrific time."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.