BOSTON, Feb. 15 -- Defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley, a central figure in the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal here, was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison on child rape charges Tuesday to a burst of applause from some of those who accused him of molestation.
Once known as a hip "street priest" who reached out to troubled children and homosexuals, Shanley, 74, was convicted last week of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at his church during the 1980s.
Paul R. Shanley, a central figure in the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, heads for state prison.
(Charles Krupa -- AP)
Video: Former Priest Sentenced to 12 to 15 Years
His accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter, said Shanley would pull him from Sunday morning catechism classes and molest him, starting when he was 6 and continuing for six years. He said repressed memories of the abuse came flooding back three years ago as the sex abuse scandal unfolded.
In a statement read in court by a prosecutor, the accuser said: "I want him to die in prison, whether it's of natural causes or otherwise. However he dies, I hope it's slow and painful."
Defense lawyer Frank Mondano asked Judge Stephen Neel to allow Shanley to serve his sentence in a county jail rather than state prison. The judge refused.
Another notorious pedophile priest, John J. Geoghan, was beaten and strangled in a Massachusetts prison in 2003, allegedly by a fellow inmate. Shanley will be eligible for parole in eight years.