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Inmate viewed himself as savior, investigator says

WORCESTER -- The inmate accused of killing John G. Geoghan says he found religion and saw himself as a savior of abused children when he strangled the notorious pedophile priest in his cell, an investigator said yesterday.

Testifying in Joseph Druce's murder trial, Lieutenant Edward Hammond said Druce told him he had been ordained through the mail as a minister of the ''Church of the Chosen Ones."

He also said Druce said that he and Geoghan, a former Catholic priest accused of molesting 150 boys, used to sit together in the cellblock and talk about religion.

Hammond, an internal affairs investigator with the state Department of Correction who interviewed Druce after Geoghan's death, said Druce told him he had ''been theologized," and that the convicted killer signed a waiver of his Miranda rights as ''Rev. Joseph Druce."

Geoghan, a central figure in Boston's clergy sex abuse scandal, was serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for groping a 10-year-old boy.

Defense lawyer John LaChance does not dispute that Druce strangled, beat, and stomped Geoghan in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski prison in Shirley in August 2003. But he says Druce should not be held criminally responsible because he was suffering from dissociative disorder, a severe mental illness that can lead patients to have delusions and adopt alternate personalities.

Under cross-examination, Hammond conceded yesterday that Druce told him he thought he was doing the right thing.

''He was portraying himself essentially as the savior of the kids for having killed Geoghan?" Druce's attorney asked.

''He was boastful of his actions and said he did it for the kids," Hammond said.

''He thought what he was doing was morally right?" said LaChance.

''Right," Hammond replied.

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