GEOGHAN CASE Probe backs sister's abuse allegations
A union president defended the corrections officers' actions.
BOSTON (AP) -- Catherine Geoghan said all along that her brother, the defrocked priest and convicted pedophile John Geoghan, was mistreated in prison before he died.
A day after a three-member commission probing the slaying of the former priest said he had been harassed and physically abused by guards, Catherine Geoghan said her view had finally been vindicated.
"The responsibility for my brother's wrongful death goes up the entire chain of command, to the highest levels," she said in a statement issued through her attorney Wednesday. "I will not rest until names are named and the full details of this shameful murder are in the public forum."
John Geoghan, a central figure in the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal, was beaten and strangled to death Aug. 23. Joseph Druce, an inmate serving a life sentence for murder, is charged with killing him.
The investigation found that a series of trumped-up discipline reports by guards helped trigger Geoghan's transfer to a maximum-security prison -- and into an environment that would eventually kill him.
A prison-guard union president insisted Wednesday that the corrections officers charged with guarding Geoghan did not have a grudge against the notorious pedophile.
Steven Kennaway, president of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union, said officers wrote up nearly a dozen disciplinary reports against Geoghan while he was at MCI-Concord because Geoghan refused to follow prison rules.
Kennaway said Geoghan, 68, had trouble taking orders and threatened to "turn his lawyer loose" on them when he was cited for having a banned hot pot in his cell.
"He came to prison, and this was a guy who couldn't believe that he was told to make his bed or to stand up for count," Kennaway said. "He could not adjust to that."
"The rules have to be applied whether the inmates are 18 years old or 68 years old," he said. "The correction officers did their jobs by writing up those rules infractions."
Scott Harshbarger, former state attorney who heads another commission now doing a systemwide review of the state prisons, said Wednesday that his group has already been looking at many of the problems addressed in the report, including the inmate classification system, disciplinary procedures and prison management.