A retired Roman Catholic priest at the center of Boston's clergy abuse scandal was en route to Massachusetts to face charges of repeatedly raping a boy in his parish over a seven-year period, authorities said.
The Rev. Paul Shanley was scheduled to board a commercial flight Monday morning from San Diego International Airport accompanied by authorities from Massachusetts.
"For security reasons, we are not releasing any specifics, but his extradition is imminent," said Lt. Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
In a brief court hearing last week, Shanley waived his right to contest extradition to Massachusetts. Prosecutors in Middlesex County accused him of raping the boy between 1983 and 1990 in St. Jean Parish in Newton, Mass., where Shanley served until the church transferred him to California.
Seth Horwitz, a spokesman for Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley, refused to comment on Shanley's arrival, other than to reiterate earlier statements that Shanley was not expected in Massachusetts before Monday evening.
Shanley, 71, who has advocated sex between men and boys, was arrested Thursday at his apartment overlooking San Diego's Balboa Park. It is the first time Shanley has faced criminal charges, though he is the focus of civil lawsuits alleging he was not properly supervised by Cardinal Bernard Law, head of the Boston archdiocese.
Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley said the retired priest is alleged to have taken the boy out of religion classes almost weekly and sexually abused him in a bathroom, the rectory or a confessional.
The victim came forward after seeing news reports about Shanley including details from his personnel file that showed the archdiocese knew of allegations against him, Coakley said.
The district attorney believes there were numerous children abused by Shanley, but the statute of limitations has expired on many of them.
Documents recently released by court order in a civil lawsuit show that despite dozens of allegations that Shanley abused children, church officials in Boston moved him from parish to parish and did not warn the Diocese of San Bernardino when he was moved there in 1990.
Since his retirement in 1993, he has lived a quiet life in San Diego, where served on the police department's volunteer patrol made up of senior citizens. He was fired from that job in April.