February 25, 2004 by

Patrick McSorley


Categories: Misc.

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.

Spotlight Investigation: Abuse in the Catholic Church

16 Responses to Patrick McSorley

  1. Stacey Stokes

    I am overwhelmed by the love and caring responses that I am seeing on websites for my brother Patrick. He was a beautiful person. Mr. Saviano could not have said it any better. My brother did have a lot of pride. It was hard for him but he was on a mission to help others. Pat was such a giving person. He and I were the closest out of everyone in our family. Half of me is gone but I would want his memory to stay alive in everyone who was affected by pat. Thank you everybody.

  2. emily kelly

    Dear Patrick,
    I just saw the American justice show. I am so sorry! Tonight in meditation (I am a yoga teacher) I will ask that all my students pray for you. My sympathy goes out to your family. I know they are heartbroken. As the mother of a 22 year old, I cannot imagine what your parents are going thru, but I will keep them in my heart.
    Om Shanthi (peace)
    Emily Kelly

  3. JoAnn

    In memory of Patrick,
    I just saw the American Justice piece on TV.
    As the wife of a former sexually abused young boy (by his uncle), I have lived with his pain for 34 years. He is 55 years old and still sees his psychiatrist for this problem.
    May God give Patrick special blessings in heaven.

  4. lori wilds

    Dear Family of Patrick MCSorley
    I’m very sorry to hear about your son. My cousin was the one who started the trial against the father of the church. I feel for all of the victums. It was an awful thing. Give my regards to the family. I’m glad my cousin and your family testified against the father. He got what he deserved the father in the end. We look up to priests as our role models of honest, law abiding citizens and now I don’t go to church anymore relizing just how much there not like what we expected them to be. They don’t practice what they preach. Again, I’m very sorry to hear about your son.
    My cousin was a victim. Love Lori Wilds

  5. rosanne keen

    To dear Patrick,
    It is with such sadness that i write this tribute. Until the american justice episode, we had not heard of you, and now your face is in my memory and your voice rings in my ears. If only someone could have reached you, to give you hope for the future, for your children. You seemed like such a beautiful person, your goodness shone through your eyes. Aside from the pain, there was a gentleness and beauty that few possess.
    I’m sure, if there is a heaven, you are there, peaceful and serene, while your abuser, resides in the worst hell one can imagine.
    Much love and thoughts go out to your family and you are forever imprinted in our minds.

  6. Jan Watson

    To Patrick’s Family:
    I did not have the privilege of knowing Patrick and it would have been a privilege. I sent a letter to Patrick last summer and my prayer was that he was able to read the letter and know how many people believed in him.
    Patrick was born into this world an innocent precious child. That innocence was stolen from him but yet despite that Patrick rose above the pain and disgust to speak the truth. May you receive some comfort in knowing that God now has his precious child back in his arms never to hurt again. Yes there is most definitely a God and heaven but on earth unfortunately roam human beings that are capable of doing such hideous acts like the one that stole Patrick’s innocence and with that left him with a hole that could never be filled. God’s hands are filling him in a way that we cannot even comprehend. I am sure that he is looking down at each one of you proud and loving saying I am at peace finally.
    Hopefully we can go on, even the ones that did not know Patrick and remember what he was about, justice and putting an end for ALL abuse to people so that people will not have to be a “VICTIM” like Patrick was.
    My prayers to all of Patrick’s family and to the people that will carry his name.

  7. Darren

    I was watching the A&E American Justice episode…I was so sad at the end when they said he had died..I wish someone could have helped him ease his pain..just so sad. I did not know him but I understand what he went through. My thoughts go to his friends and family.

  8. Joseph Donohue

    My heart goes out to the family of Patrick..I recently saw the “Sins of a Priest” on American Justice.. I was totally shocked when I learned of Patrick’s death….I know now that he is at peace with the lord and he will never have to suffer the pain he carried through his life…One thing that totally outraged me was the comment made by one of Father (excuse me, ex-father) John Geoghan’s best friend ( another priest).He made the statement that he wished people would remember the former priest as a “Saint”!.He’s got to be kiddin!..This man was a monster from hell and I’m sure that is where he is today..,,,Again, I’m so sorry to hear about Patrick..I know he is at peace..

  9. Dan Joyce

    I did not know you very well but you were always a welcoming person when I was around you. May you rest in peace and your family be strong.

  10. Gabriel Espinosa

    Please don’t stop praying for Patrick’s soul. We don’t know that he is in Heaven and if he is not and by the mercy of God is in purgatory, then he needs our prayers to help expedite his purification.
    Even if you don’t believe, it doesn’t hurt to pray for his salvation.

  11. Alan Brini

    Pat, Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. You are always in my mind, my heart,and my prayers. During the eight years that I knew you, you became the son I never had and I became your father figure. I always felt that you knew I would always be there for you. I strugled so hard with the question; why when you needed me most, couldn’t I be there for you? I finnaly got my answer. Now we both know. Stacy, if you feel this note to Pat is inappropriate feel free to erase it. I just had to tell him. my love to Pat,your mother and your family and especially to little Pat. Alan

  12. Adam Stein

    To the family and close friends of Patrick, I can only say that I’m so very sorry this happened to Patrick and I’m sorry that I didn’t ever get to meet him. I followed his story from the start with the hope that somehow his outspoken and fair, candid discussions about this would help many others, as well as himself. As for myself, I endured nearly a decade of sexual abuse as a child, and just hearing him discuss it on the news and knowing he was working hard to make a difference really helped me, particularly in understanding that it was not my fault at all.
    Hearing of Patrick’s eventual loss of his battle with this completely broke my heart, and to this day I still cannot talk about it without feeling as I did when I first heard he was gone – very heartbroken, to realize that he essentially died twice. Such a terrible tragedy.

  13. Christiana Colson

    To the family of Patrick,
    I just saw the American justice show on T.V.,Patricks death was so related to my brother (24) Jason’s death in October, he died of a drug overdose, and we think a lot of the problem was because of abuse from our maternal grandfather. I would like to express my deepest condolenses, although I know the pain never goes away.

  14. jude

    It is all so horrible!! one victim of john geoghan is still suffering, one whom never was free to tell his own story. one who is paying dearly with his very life/freedom because he determined that nothing mattered more than to end the evil by ending that pedophile’s life/future. Joe Druce is a good man with a gentle heart towards children. He is the last one to suffer, i reach out to all who care about this and seek voices to help free Joe Druce. He endures life in D.D.U in M.C.I so. walpole, ma. He lives in a cell 23 hours a day because he cared too much. NOT hate, NOT a prize or reward, but he was also a victim at the age of 7 and 8, with noone to help, even his own father. Big hint of reality, that’s why he changed his birth name!!! PLEASE CARE!! Please help Joe!!

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