A defrocked priest at the heart of Boston's Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal was released from prison Friday and settled into an apartment across the street from a children's dance studio. Paul Shanley, who was convicted of raping a boy in the 1980s, moved to the town of Ware, 65 miles west of Boston, after his release from the Old Colony Correctional Center, where he served a 12-year sentence. Shanley, 86, used a cane and was helped by a man as he arrived in Ware. His new home in a multiunit building is across from a recently opened dance studio that teaches children as young as 2. The studio's owner, Arielle Lask, said she plans to install "state-of-the-art" security systems and to make sure every child leaves with an adult. “It’s terrible ... that he’s moving across the street, but there’s nobody who is better to be his neighbor than me because all I do is make kids safe," Lask tells the Boston Herald.
As a condition of Shanley's 10-year probation, the AP reports that he has been ordered to have no contact with children under age 16. Ware police Chief Shawn Crevier said Shanley has registered as a sex offender, though psychologists citing Shanley's advanced age and health issues concluded his likelihood to reoffend is low. "I'm sure that law enforcement will ensure that the community feels safe, and I have every expectation that they are going to ... be certain that Paul Shanley also remains safe," says Shanley's lawyer. "Paul Shanley should be in a hospital being treated and not in the outside world where he can easily gain access to innocent children," argues an attorney who represented dozens of Shanley's accusers. (Read more Archdiocese of Boston stories.)