Court vacates Geoghan abuse conviction
Published: October 1, 2003
BOSTON (CNS) -- The Massachusetts Appeals Court vacated the child molestation conviction of former priest John Geoghan Sept. 26 because Geoghan was killed in prison while his conviction was on appeal. Geoghan, who was convicted of indecent assault and battery in 2002 for fondling a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool, had been serving a nine- to 10-year sentence at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley when he was killed in his cell Aug. 23. Fellow inmate Joseph L. Druce has been charged with the murder but pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. The decision to throw out a conviction under appeal at the time of the defendant's death is standard under Massachusetts law. David Skeels, Geoghan's attorney, filed the request after officially notifying the court Sept. 2 of his client's death. Mitchell Garabedian, who represents many of the nearly 150 people whom Geoghan was accused of abusing, said he would work to change the state law that allowed the sentence to be voided. "It's as though the reporting of ... Geoghan's sexual abuse, his trial and the jury decision never existed," Garabedian said.
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