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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

Expanded panel on Geoghan sought

By Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff, 9/11/2003

 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

A group of six legislators yesterday called on Governor Mitt Romney to expand the membership and the mission of a panel appointed last month to investigate the strangulation of defrocked priest John J. Geoghan inside a maximum-security prison.

In addition to Geoghan's death, the legislators also cited the death of Kelly-Jo Griffen, 24, of Lynn, at the state prison in Framingham July 21 in demanding a comprehensive look at the state Department of Correction.

"As a group, we believe that the murder of John Geoghan and the death of Kelly-Jo Griffen indicate problems in our prison system that should be investigated by an independent body," said Representative Patricia D. Jehlen, a Somerville Democrat who was the author of the letter from the Legislature's prison task force.

"The deaths of John Geoghan and Kelly-Jo Griffen can go unexamined, or, they can provide the opportunity for an open examination that will lead to an improved system of corrections in the Commonwealth," according to the letter, which was delivered to Romney's chief of staff Tuesday afternoon. A spokeswoman for Romney declined to comment yesterday on the letter.

Meanwhile, 23 members of the Legislature's Women's Caucus signed another letter urging state Senate President Robert Travaglini and House Speaker Thomas Finneran to assign a legislative committee to investigate Griffen's death.

Representative Kay Khan, a Newton Democrat and a member of the prison task force, said state law gives lawmakers a special status to investigate the prison system. Along with the governor, judges, and district attorneys, legislators have unrestricted access to prisoners; even lawyers and family are blocked from visiting when an inmate is on medical watch.

Khan invoked that status in June and in August to visit two inmates at the maximum-security Cedar Grove state prison in Walpole. She said she found one inmate in a dark, chilly cell in the facility's basement and the other inmate in the corrections system's disciplinary unit, where there is virtually no contact with other inmates or guards. Khan said a lawyer for both inmates had gone six weeks without being able to contact her clients.

Khan said that her intervention led to the transfer of one of the inmates to another facility, and the lawyer soon after gained access to both inmates.

Justin Latini, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, said the prison system's medical staff sometimes restricts visits to inmates for medical reasons. He said ongoing litigation prevented him from discussing Khan's description of the inmate housed in a cell in the prison's basement.

Latini said Kelly-Jo Griffen was arrested on a default warrant and confined to the Framingham state prison on July 21 to await a court appearance. She appeared sick and was immediately put under 24-hour medical care, he said. Griffen's scheduled court appearance was postponed, and she was kept in the medical unit an extra day, said Latini.

On July 23, she collapsed and died, he said, despite repeated attempts by staff to revive her.

"I don't know what happens on a day-to-day basis, but holding an inmate without anyone getting in to see him for six weeks -- that is an abuse," she said.

Romney's secretary of public safety, Edward A. Flynn, announced on Aug. 25 the appointment of a three-member panel to investigate Geoghan's death two days earlier in a protective custody unit at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. The panel is chaired by Mark Delaney, a State Police major, and includes Mark Reilly, the Department of Correction's chief of investigations, and George Camp, a Department of Correction contractor and the executive director of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

Sean P. Murphy can be reached at

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