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January-24-02

Former Catholic Priest Convicted of Pedophilia

John J. Geoghan, a former Catholic Priest, was convicted last week of indecent assault on a minor. According to the suit, while he was a priest in the Boston Archdiocese, Geoghan molested a 10-year old boy in 1991 at a local swimming pool. Geoghan is scheduled to be sentenced February 21 after undergoing a 30-day psychiatric evaluation. Geoghan is also scheduled to begin a second criminal trial on separate charges of child sexual assault on February 20 before beginning a third criminal trial. Since the 1980s, Geoghan may have assaulted more than 130 children. These children have now come forward, but the statutes of limitation may have passed for some of their charges.

Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston apologized earlier this month for knowingly allowing Geoghan to continue his duties as a parish priest while he was suspected of molestation and pedophilia. The LA Times reports that 118 people have now launched civil suits against Law and the Archdiocese of Boston for negligence. The archdiocese has already paid more than $10 million in settlements to Geoghan’s alleged victims. Massachusetts legislators are now considering laws that would require clergy to report allegations of abuse to civil authorities. Currently, under a Vatican directive, priests suspected of pedophilia and child rape need only appear before secret ecclesiastical courts.

Media Resources: Associated Press, 1/23/02; Feminist Daily News Wire, 1/15/02 & 1/16/02

   

     

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