A defrocked U.S. Roman Catholic priest convicted of child rape has been sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for the crime.

Former priest Paul Shanley has been one of the most high-profile figures in a sex scandal involving clergy of the Boston Archdiocese.

Before issuing the sentence Tuesday, a Massachusetts judge said the crimes Shanley committed against the defendant left a "severe impact" on his life. In addition to the prison term, Shanley was also sentenced to 10 years probation.

The accuser, now 27-years old, says he was sexually molested and repeatedly raped by Shanley during the 1980's.

Shanley, who is 74, has also been accused in other sex abuse cases.

Documents released by church leaders in 2002 showed the Roman Catholic Church in the United States had known of abuse allegations against Shanley for decades, but failed to remove him from duties involving children. Instead, the church moved him from parish to parish.

Some information for this report provided by AP.