Ex-Priest, Child Abuser Paul Shanley Out of Prison

Defrocked priest Paul Shanley appears in Suffolk County Superior Court in 2008 to seek a new trial. That request was rejected. Shanley is set to be released from prison as early as this week

Paul Shanley, once known as a "street priest" who reached out to young people, became a prominent face in the massive clergy abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in Boston and worldwide.

Paul Shanley has spent the last 12 years in prison for raping a Sunday school student in the early 1980s.

Protesters had planned to gather outside the Massachusetts Old Colony Correctional Facility in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, around 9 a.m. until the release of Shanley; however, officials with the state's Department of Corrections confirmed Shanley had been released before 7:30 a.m.

The Sex Offender Registry Board has classified him as the most risky, a Level 3 offender, meaning they believe he has a high risk to re-offend. The accuser, at the time of trial a 27-year-old firefighter, said the abuse began when he was 6 years old. But, both experts told prosecutors that he does not meet the legal criteria for civil confinement as a sexually unsafe person.

His victims now fear Shanley won't have enough supervision - because he's not required to wear an electronic monitoring device on release.

Shanley's lawyer said he's done his time and isn't risky.

Shanley was defrocked in 2004 after dozens of men came forward and said he had molested them when they were children.

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