Patrick McSorley, one of the most outspoken Boston clergy sex abuse victims, died on Feb. 23. Cause of death was not released. He was 29.
One of the first victims to go public, McSorley appeared at several news conferences in recent years to criticize how the Boston Archdiocese handled its abusive priests. Although the church knew Father John Geoghan was a pedophile, Catholic authorities shuffled him from parish to parish whenever sexual allegations were reported. Almost all of Geoghan’s victims were grammar school boys; one was only 4 years old.
In 1986, McSorley said Geoghan visited his home to offer condolences after his father committed suicide. Geoghan took McSorley out for ice cream and sexually abused him in the car. At the time, Patrick was 12 years old. A troubled life followed the incident. McSorley spent many years in and out of drug rehabilitation centers to overcome his substance abuse problem. Last June, he nearly drowned in the Neponset River. A month later, he was arrested on drug charges.
McSorley was one of hundreds of Geoghan victims who sued the archdiocese. The church settled with him and more than 80 plaintiffs for $10 million in 2002. Last summer, Geoghan was murdered in prison.
“Patrick was certainly courageous in his willingness to go on the record very publicly to tell what it was like to be abused, as it turns out, by one of the most notorious molesters in the priesthood. For any young male victim, that takes a lot of courage, and Patrick McSorley was able to do it day after day after day,” said Phil Saviano, founder of the New England chapter of the Survivors Network.