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Geoghan Named in 17 New Sexual Abuse Suits

October 04, 2002|From Reuters

BOSTON — John Geoghan, the defrocked priest and convicted pedophile who cost the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston $10 million to settle sexual abuse claims two weeks ago, was named Thursday in 17 new sexual abuse lawsuits.

Some of the suits also charge several bishops, including Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, with negligence for allowing Geoghan to continue serving as a priest despite repeated accusations that he was molesting children.

Geoghan is the cleric at the heart of a child sex scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church since January, forcing from office priests and bishops in the United States, Ireland, Poland, Germany and other countries.

Mitchell Garabedian, the same lawyer who last month signed a $10-million settlement between the archdiocese and 86 of his clients who said they were Geoghan's victims, filed the new lawsuits in Suffolk Superior Court.

Garabedian, who collected more than $3 million from last month's settlement, said he has been investigating some of the claims in the new lawsuits for as long as 18 months.

"The plaintiffs in these cases think the church doesn't really care at all about these victims, as they didn't care about the Geoghan 86 victims or any other victims," Garabedian told a news conference.

The new complaints allege that Geoghan fondled, raped and otherwise sexually abused the 17 plaintiffs while he was serving at seven parishes in and around Boston from 1964 to 1996.

Garabedian said that with the 17 new alleged victims, he had now been approached by 141 people who claimed they were sexually abused by Geoghan. There are 19 civil cases pending against the priest: the 17 filed Thursday and two filed in June, the lawyer said.

Geoghan, who is serving a prison sentence for fondling a boy, faces two other criminal trials stemming from abuse allegations during his three-decade career in the Boston Archdiocese. And, Garabedian said, he is investigating three other claims against the priest.

Donna Morrissey, spokeswoman at the Archdiocese of Boston, said the church wants to settle all sexual abuse cases fairly.

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