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More Questions For Cardinal Law

Cardinal Bernard Law faced off with attorneys for alleged sex abuse victims of former priest John Geoghan in the testiest day yet of his deposition Monday, while a judge ordered Law's Boston archdiocese to immediately turn over more records in another case.

As with Friday's testimony, transcripts were not released following a judge's order that Law be given 30 days to review transcripts before they become public. But two alleged victims who attended Monday's session said afterwards that Monday's session provided the most heated exchanges yet.

"There were points in time where Cardinal Law got downright, very upset," Mark Keane, one of the alleged victims, said in a telephone interview.

Keane said the cardinal had become visibly angered when he believed one attorney, William Gordon, questioned his honesty during an exchange about whether Law had reviewed documents with his lawyers.

"That's when I think he misunderstood that they were implying that he had been coached or something on those lines, and he really kind of wigged out." Keane said Law "went into a speech about how important the oath was to him, he doesn't take an oath lightly."

But Keane also called the five hours of questioning the most "productive" yet. He said Law had acknowledged that he had possessed the authority to establish a trust fund for victims that did not require the approval of the archdiocese's finance committee.

Earlier this month, the committee overruled Law and pulled out of a settlement agreement worth between $15 million and $30 million, saying it couldn't afford it.

Donna Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined to comment, saying she had not seen the transcript and would not comment on active litigation. Law's lawyers were not available for comment.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian declined to discuss specifics of the testimony but said archdiocese lawyers had agreed to allow him to continue questioning Law, though the deposition would likely not continue for another month.

His clients, Keane and another alleged victim, Patrick McSorley, also said Law was questioned about a 1989 letter from the Institute of Living, a Hartford, Conn. center where Geoghan received three months of treatment. A psychiatrist diagnosed him with pedophilia in remission, and said there was a low probability he would abuse children again but could not guarantee it.

The victims said Law focused on portions of a letter from doctors that said he was safe to resume his ministry while downplaying a section indicating he might still be dangerous.

"He said, if you're trying to press me I'll refer to the portion of the letter that states it's reasonable to send him back to the parish," Keane during a midday break.

Law and other church officials are accused of negligence for reassigning Geoghan and ignoring warning signs that he was dangerous to children. Geoghan is serving a nine- to 10-year prison sentence on a molestation conviction.

In his first two days of questioning, Law testified he did not recall reading 1984 letters that warned of Geoghan's behavior.

At Mass on Sunday, Law made no mention of the tumultuous events of the previous week, during which he was forced for the first time to answer questions about the scandal under oath.

At previous Masses, he had taken time to read statements about aspects of the crisis, including the U.S. cardinals' summit at the Vatican and the archdiocese's decision to withdraw from the settlement with victims.

On Sunday, victims of clergy sexual abuse were acknowledged during a standard recitation of prayers. Law has also dedicated a nine-day period ending May 19 to bringing "healing to the victims of clergy sexual abuse and their families."

After Mass, as Law was greeting hundreds of Vietnamese Catholics who had come to offer their support, protesters with bullhorns shouted at the church walls, daring Law to come out and meet with the press. He did not.

Protester Rosemary Donovan-Morgan, 73, of Milton, Mass., said she was there because she thinks Law has been "an absolute disgrace."

"When people deliberately lie and don't remember things, what's that telling you?" she said. "So much damage has been done. It will take time for all good priests and bishops - and even Cardinals - for the laity to believe again."

In a related development, the Boston Archdiocese was ordered Monday to immediately turn over psychiatric and medical records of the Rev. Paul Shanley, the retired priest who has been charged with raping a boy.

Middlesex Superior Court Justice Janet Sanders ruled that Shanley had waived any right to keep the records private when he turned them over to the archdiocese. A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday to determine whether the documents will be made public.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey declined comment. Shanley's attorney, Frank Mondano, did not immediately return a call.

Shanley, 71, is a central figure in the sex abuse scandal that has led to calls for Cardinal Law's resignation.

Church documents released earlier in the legal battle showed that archdiocese officials knew Shanley as early as 1967 had been accused of sexually abusing children but did little more than move him from parish to parish.

The archdiocese also did not warn California's Diocese of San Bernardino when Shanley moved there in 1990. Shanley retired in 1993.

The psychiatric and medical records had been sought by the family of Gregory Ford, 24, who claims Shanley repeatedly raped him when he was a boy. Ford has filed a civil lawsuit against Law, accusing the cardinal of negligence in failing to protect Ford.

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