continued There was never any formal good-bye to Shanley. "I just kind of stopped seeing him my senior year. It was getting pretty close to graduation. I just stopped going to him. I don't think he expected anything. He was always willing to see me, and every time I saw him he asked me to call him and let me know I was all right."
McLean came to California after graduating in 1975, first to Long Beach and then to San Francisco for almost 5 years. In 1980 McLean returned to Boston for 15 years, before coming back to California. "I was in Los Angeles for 2 years, then I came to San Diego. I met someone who lived here, and I didn't like Los Angeles -- it was just too congested. I wanted to stay in Southern California but not Los Angeles, so I moved down here to be with him."
McLean had no idea that Shanley had ever been involved in sexual activity with younger boys until the news stories hit last spring. "Until all this stuff broke, I still kind of thought he was an okay guy. I never even knew he was in San Diego until I saw him on the news before he was arrested. Before he was on the news in San Diego, I had friends who told me he was on the news in Boston. They said he was part of this whole Catholic Church priest thing. It really surprised me, because I really didn't think he was having sex with minors. It was all news to me.
"I was kind of disappointed. When I talk to some people, they tell me that I was violated by him, since I went to see him for counseling and it became sexual. A lot of people tell me that he took advantage of the situation, but I just don't recognize that. I was of age at the time. He must have been close to 40 then. But at the time I did it, I wanted to participate."
While McLean still believes his relationship with Shanley was good for him, he never thought of contacting Shanley when he found out the former priest was in trouble. "Too much time had passed. Plus, I was kind of shocked to find this whole side of him. I think it was kind of creepy to do what he did. I mean, he was having sex with 12-, 13-, and 14-year-old kids, and I think that's creepy. I was disappointed."
McLean abandoned the Catholic faith in college before he met Shanley and has never gone back. Now a practicing Buddhist, McLean's disdain for the Catholic Church motivated him to speak out about Shanley. "When all of this broke, I found an ad in the Boston Globe that asked for people who knew Shanley, and I contacted them. I did this because this whole thing with the Catholic Church is so hypocritical. Anything I can do to expose the hypocrisy -- you know, I grew up with the Catholic Church telling me that it was wrong to be gay. It was a thorn in my back all through high school and college. It made me slightly suicidal at times, all because of my family and their entrenchment in the Church -- and now to find out that half the priests were having not only sex -- this is what infuriates me -- that the Catholic Church was telling adult people that it was wrong for them to have consensual sex as adults, and they're not only having sex but having it with minors. To me it's just galling that they are telling people that they can't have gay sex while they're raping kids. I thought nobody would be interested in what happened to me, because I wasn't a minor. But anything I could do to help expose the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, I would be willing and glad to do."
McLean's parents were "mortified" when he finally came out to them in the early 1980s, but they grew to accept it. They also knew about Shanley and their son before he called to warn them that his name would be in a news story -- thanks to his sister stepping in ahead of him. "I knew it was going to be in the Globe, and I thought they didn't know anything about it. I told my sister a long time ago and assumed she had never told my parents, but she had. They never said anything to me because they didn't know if I knew that they knew."
If he could meet Shanley face-to-face now, McLean would express his disappointment. "I think he could have done a lot of good if he didn't do all the harmful things he did. I think he could have been a major influence on a lot of people in a good way, and it's just really sad that he had this other side of him that violated kids. If this had never happened, I would have thought he was a great guy."
McLean isn't troubled that Shanley will probably spend the rest of his life in jail. "If he was having sex with these young kids, I think he's violated them in many ways. If you're violating somebody spiritually, I think that's really low. I think he should be behind bars."