January 21, 2006

Inmate accused in Geoghan slaying tells of abuse


By Associated Press | January 21, 2006

WORCESTER -- The inmate accused of killing pedophile priest John Geoghan took the witness stand yesterday, describing years of childhood sexual and physical abuse that his lawyers said helped drive an uncontrollable rage that led to the slaying.

Joseph Druce referred to killing the dismissed priest only once during his hourlong testimony, after describing being raped by a staff member at a residential school he attended as a boy.

''That's what triggered me . . . I heard them talking about" abuse, he said.

Druce's lawyers don't dispute that he killed Geoghan, a central figure in the Catholic Church's clergy sex-abuse scandal, but they say he was suffering from severe mental illness and should not be convicted. Druce, 40, told investigators he killed Geoghan in his prison cell in August 2003 to stop him from molesting more children. Earlier Friday, as Druce was being escorted out of the courtroom, he shouted: ''God save all the innocent kids."

At the time of his death, Geoghan was serving a 9- to 10-year prison sentence for fondling a 10-year-old boy, but he was accused in lawsuits of sexually abusing some 150 children over three decades in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by kshaw at January 21, 2006 08:31 AM