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 Latest coverage

October 25
Victims could now collect

October 2
Geoghan's sister hits guards

October 1
Geoghan's sister to speak

September 27
Conviction erasure protested
Druce is hospitalized again
Guard ad seeks understanding

September 24
Inquiry: Druce beaten as child

September 20
Druce pleads not guilty in slay
Geoghan claims guard assault

September 14
Report says Druce in a rage

September 13
Letter: Druce abused as a boy

September 12
Geoghan bore guards' abuse
Lawyer: Mail deluges accused

September 11
Expanded panel is sought

September 8
Druce is returned from hospital

September 5
Geoghan consultant ties eyed

September 4
Conflict raised on consultant

September 3
Bias concerns raised in probe

September 2
No new panel members seen

August 31
Geoghan panel to expand

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

Druce returned from hospital to Shirley prison

By Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff, 9/8/2003

 Related stories
Geoghan killed
Geoghan's sister criticizes guards

Geoghan's sister to speak

Victims protest conviction erasure
Druce is hospitalized again
Guards' ad seeks understanding

Inquiry: Druce beaten as a child

Druce pleads not guilty to killing
Geoghan claimed guard assault

Report describes Druce in a rage

Letter says Druce abused as boy

Inmate: Geoghan bore abuse
Lawyer: Mail deluging accused

Expanded Geoghan panel sought

Druce is returned from hospital

McNamara: A back-page death

Geoghan consultant's ties eyed
McGrory: Romney can do better

Conflict issue raised on consultant

Bias concerns are raised in probe

No new members seen for panel

Geoghan panel will be expanded

Group assails prison guards
Geoghan is buried in Brookline
Op-Ed: Geoghan's 'innocence'

Priest in 'aggressive' case unit
Records show Druce as deviant
Voiding of record is challenged

Bid to keep Geoghan at Concord
Geoghan's death voids conviction
Prison units see volatile mixes
US attorney won't rush decision

Monthlong plot to kill Geoghan
Alleged killer led troubled life

Geoghan was tied and beaten
Death doesn't end victim suffering
Similiarities in suspect's '88 crime
Priest seen as a prison target

Geoghan is strangled in prison
A troubled life exploiting vocation

Geoghan case letters, documents
Law deposition in Geoghan case

 From the archives
Key stories in the Geoghan case

Church allowed abuse for years

Geoghan found guilty of sex abuse

Geoghan receives 9-10 years

Law recalls little on Geoghan case

Geoghan victims settle for $10m

 Complete coverage
The John Geoghan case

Twenty-four hours after being rushed to a hospital, Joseph L. Druce, the convicted murderer who allegedly strangled and beat defrocked priest John J. Geoghan to death, was returned to the same cellblock where he triggered a medical alert on Friday night by swallowing pieces of a pencil.

Druce had no lasting injuries, but prisoners' rights advocates questioned whether he continues to present a threat to himself and therefore should be evaluated for placement at Bridgewater State Hospital.

Justin Latini, spokesman for state Department of Correction Commissioner Michael T. Maloney, said the department's medical staff is responsible for deciding whether Druce is mentally ill and in need of hospitalization.

"If an inmate harms himself, that's going to alert the medical staff that something may need to be done," said Latini. "But it's the medical staff that has total discretion over an evaluation, not the prison superintendent or corrections commissioner."

Latini provided few specifics about Druce, 37, other than that he was returned to the prison in Shirley at 11 p.m. Saturday from UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Druce allegedly told investigators after Geoghan's death on Aug. 23 that he killed the former priest "to save the children" while the two were in a protective custody unit at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

Geoghan, 68, was serving six years of a nine- to 10-year sentence for molesting a 10-year-old boy. Allegations that he molested 150 youngsters helped spark the clergy sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church and led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.

Leslie Walker, executive director of Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, said the legal standard for determining whether an inmate belongs at Bridgewater State Hospital was when the inmate "presented a serious threat to harm himself or harm others." A judge must make the determination of the existence of a threat.

Walker said there appeared to be evidence that Druce needed an evaluation.

Druce's lawyer, John H. LaChance, said he was quite likely to pursue an insanity defense in the murder of Geoghan, according to an Aug. 27 story in The New York Times. LaChance could not be reached yesterday.

Druce has not been charged with Geoghan's murder, thus he has not appeared in court for an arraignment. An arraignment before a judge is often the occasion for criminal defendants to be ordered to Bridgewater State Hospital for evaluation.

Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte has said he will present evidence against Druce directly to a grand jury this month. A court appearance would follow an indictment.

Druce was convicted in 1989 of the North Shore murder of George Rollo, who allegedly had made a sexual advance toward Druce. According to psychiatric records from his trial, Druce was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and put on Ritalin and Thorazine as a child and teenager.

Sean P. Murphy can be reached at

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