WARE, Mass. (WPRI) – Former priest and convicted pedophile Paul Shanley settled into his new home in Ware, Mass. Friday night as a free man.
Shanley was released Friday morning from the Massachusetts Old Colony Correctional Facility in Bridgewater after serving 12 years of a 15-year sentence for raping a boy in the 1980’s. Dozens of men came forward decades later saying Shanley had molested or raped them too.
Shanley, now 86, first had to register with local police as a Level 3 sex offender, which is the highest level and considered the most likely to re-offend.
“It’s their decision where they can live,” Ware Police Chief Shawn Crevier said.
“We’re definitely concerned about this,” said Liz Pelletier, a mother who lives in Shanley’s new neighborhood.
Several of Shanley’s alleged victims and other victim advocates have also voiced concerns, saying they believe he will re-offend.
“This is a man I don’t think will stop abusing,” Dr. Robert Hoatson said. “He’s a very dangerous person.”
Hoatson showed up in Ware Friday morning to protest, holding signs and saying he was acting as a voice for many.
Just across the street from Shanley’s new home is a new dance studio for children that will be opening up in September. The studio’s owner, Arielle Lask, wasn’t happy to hear the news but she promised safety for her students.
“We’re going to have spotlights, surveillance cameras,” she said. “We’re going to have panic buttons and alarm systems.”
Two psychologists determined Shanley was not sexually dangerous. The defrocked priest will not be required to wear a GPS monitor.
“The public is safe and I’m sure he’ll abide by his requirements,” Crevier added.
Neighbors said they’ll make sure of that.
“I’m going to cling to my granddaughter, you know, and just keep an eye on all the kids,” one grandmother said.
“I hope that everyone in the town can band together with me and we’re going to make sure that every child, whether they are a student of mine or not, is safe from him and all the evil in the town,” Lask said.
According to the sex offender registry, Shanley will be the 20th Level 3 sex offender to move to Ware. Several others already live on his street.
Crevier said Shanley’s neighborhood is one of the most heavily patrolled in town.