January 26, 2006

Fellow Inmate Guilty of Murdering Ex-Priest

Los Angeles Times

By Elizabeth Mehren, Times Staff Writer

BOSTON A jury in Worcester, Mass., convicted a prison inmate Wednesday of murdering John J. Geoghan, the defrocked Roman Catholic priest at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese.

Joseph L. Druce, 40, had admitted strangling Geoghan in Geoghan's prison cell on Aug. 23, 2003. Jurors in Worcester, about 40 miles west of Boston, rejected Druce's claims that he was insane when he killed Geoghan and that he believed he was protecting children by doing so.

Geoghan, 68, was serving nine to 10 years for fondling a 10-year-old boy at a community swimming pool. He was accused of molesting more than 150 children over three decades as a priest in the Boston area.

His trial in 2002 helped spark the abuse crisis that continues to haunt the Roman Catholic Church. Documents made public during the case revealed that church officials had rebuffed complaints from parents who said Geoghan, their parish priest, had sexually molested their children.

Rather than removing him from duties involving children, church officials simply moved Geoghan when reports became too numerous. He served in six parishes around Boston.

Posted by kshaw at January 26, 2006 08:34 AM