Monday, January 10, 2005

DA won't appeal lifting of ban on naming priest's alleged victims

In Cambridge, Mass., Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley said today she will not appeal a judge's ruling that freed the media to identify alleged victims in the child rape case against defrocked priest Paul Shanley, Associated Press reports. Coakley said in a statement that the next week would be better spent preparing for Shanley's criminal trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 18.

Acting on a request from Coakley's office, a judge last week ordered the media not to identify Shanley's accusers. Prosecutors said they feared continuing to name the alleged victims would make them unwilling to testify. The Associated Press, the Boston Herald and The Boston Globe challenged the order, and on Friday, Judge Stephen Neel overturned it, agreeing it was an unconstitutional "prior restraint."

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