The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


Appeal filed to restore abuse case

By John Ellement, Globe Staff, 5/25/2002

Saying the victim was too young to remember some events correctly, Suffolk County prosecutors yesterday asked a judge to reinstate the two most serious criminal charges against defrocked priest John Geoghan.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Margaret Hinkle ruled in March that prosecutors had waited too long to file rape charges dating back to the 1980s against Geoghan. Hinkle concluded that the statute of limitations had expired in 1996. Prosecutors did not bring the charges until 1999.

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Alex Philipson said Hinkle should take another look at the chronology.

He said the victim was wrong when he testified to Boston police and prosecutors in 1986 that he reported being raped by Geoghan. At that time, Philipson said, the victim only disclosed that Geoghan had fondled him.

Philipson said the victim's mother and other witnesses first heard of the rape allegations in 1989, which put the alleged crime within the statute of limitations.

''What we have here is a victim who is simply wrong about the date,'' Philipson said outside the courtroom.

But Geoghan's attorney, Geoffrey Packard, told Hinkle she should believe the timeline provided by the victim and refuse to reinstate the charges. Packard said there are no police reports or other records that contradict the victim's recollection.

Hinkle took the matter under advisement.

Geoghan still faces trial on two counts of indecent assault and battery that allegedly occurred in the 1990s, well within the statute of limitations. He is already serving a 9- to 10-year state prison term for touching a boy's buttocks in a public swimming pool.

Also yesterday, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney David Deakin filed a motion asking for the opportunity to call other alleged victims of Geoghan at the criminal trial to show he engaged in a pattern of illegal conduct.

This story ran on page A7 of the Boston Globe on 5/25/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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