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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 beaten as child, inquiry finds

By Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff, 9/24/2003

 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

Joseph L. Druce, charged with murdering defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, was severely beaten by his father as a child and was sexually abused, beginning at age 8, by three other adult men, including a neighbor and a man with a religious affiliation, according to an investigator hired by Druce's lawyer.

"His problems stem from his abuse as a child," Joseph Guidetti, the investigator, said of Druce. "He didn't have a chance in life from Jump Street."

Guidetti declined to release the names of the three men he said sexually abused Druce, saying the three -- who were not family members -- will be key witnesses for the defense when Druce goes on trial.

John H. LaChance, Druce's lawyer, has said he is investigating an insanity defense. Guidetti said that for such a defense, the alleged abusers are needed to corroborate Druce's assertions that he was sexually abused as a child.

Druce's father, Dana Smiledge, declined to comment yesterday at his home in Byfield.

Authorities said Joseph Druce, 38, beat and strangled Geoghan on Aug. 23 at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. Druce was serving a life sentence without possibility of parole for the 1987 murder of George Rollo, 51, of Gloucester, who Druce contended made a sexual advance after picking up Druce, who was hitchhiking.

Geoghan, 68, was serving a nine- to 10-year prison sentence for molesting a 10-year-old boy. Allegations that Geoghan sexually assaulted nearly 150 children, mostly boys, helped spark the clergy sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church.

In a court appearance Friday and in a Sept. 5 letter to the Catholic Free Press newspaper of the Worcester Archdiocese, Druce called on the public and lawmakers to step up protection of children and to "hold pedophiles accountable for their actions."

Guidetti said that when Druce was teenager, he told therapists about the sexual abuse he suffered, and that records now being reviewed will bear that out.

The investigator said he was in the process of contacting the three men who allegedly abused Druce. One of them lured Druce into his home in Druce's childhood neighborhood, Guidetti said. As a child, Druce lived in Danvers and Salem, Guidetti said, who added that he did not know without consulting his notes in which community the alleged abuse occurred.

Guidetti said Druce learned as a child that the man who sexually abused him had also sexually abused one of his friends.

Druce also was sexually abused by a man who had an affiliation with the church Druce's family attended, Guidetti said. However, that man was not a priest. Guidetti said he did not know without reviewing notes the church affiliation of the Druce family and the alleged abuser, but said the man had a supervisory role at the church.

Guidetti declined to provide any details about alleged sexual abuse by the third man. He described the three episodes of abuse as varying in duration when Druce was between ages 8 and 12. The three men were not connected, Guidetti said, and the abuse incidents were separate and independent.

Dana Smiledge, Druce's father, told the Boston Herald on Aug. 23, the day of Geoghan's murder, that his son had been a longtime victim of sexual abuse by adult men.

Last week, after Druce was arraigned on murder charges in Worcester Superior Court, his lawyer told reporters that Druce wanted to send a message to his father. Quoting his client, LaChance said: "If you knew about my being sexually molested, why didn't you do anything to protect me?"

LaChance did not return a call to his office yesterday.

In 1988, Druce's lawyers unsuccessfully attempted an insanity defense in the murder of Rollo. There was no evidence presented at that trial of Druce as a victim of sexual abuse, but there was testimony that Druce was prescribed pyschoactive pharmaceuticals since the time he was 5 or 6 until his middle teens.

Globe correspondent John McElhenny contributed to his report.Sean P. Murphy can be reached at

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