Scandal engulfed Mitt Romney's first year as governor of Masachusetts when defrocked Catholic priest John Geoghan was murdered while in prison. Geoghan was serving a 9-10 year sentence for child molestation.
Why Romney allowed the Catholic priest to be placed in the same cell with a self-proclaimed white supremacist serving a life sentence for killing a gay man is unknown at this time.
Geoghan was beaten and strangled Aug. 23 in his cell in a maximum-security protective custody unit at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. Authorities say he was killed by Joseph L. Druce, a convicted killer. Geoghan was transferred to Souza-Baranowski in April from a minimum-security protective unit at MCI-Concord, where his lawyers allege that prison guards harassed him so severely, even defecating on his bed, that the former priest welcomed the move. Read more at The Boston Globe
There is no doubt that John Geoghan was a reprehensible person, but did he deserve to be "stomped to death?" Of course not. The decision by Mitt Romney not to secure the priest's safety and to treat him with such disrespect is shocking. Additionally, Romney tried to whitewash his administration's incomprehensible actions that led to the murder. Four months later, the public was still being kept in the dark.
"The Boston Globe reported that Druce's father, Dana Smiledge, said: "I can't understand why they would put a guy who would kill a sex offender in a cell with a sex offender." Leslie Walker, a lawyer and the executive director of a private non-profit group providing legal services for indigent prisoners, who included Geoghan, said it was "absolutely predictable" that the former priest would be at risk. "They failed miserably. He was a frail old man and he should have been kept safe," Mr Walker said. Read more
It took until Feb. 3, 2004 before the final report on the matter was issued.
When Governor Mitt Romney named an outside panel to investigate the savage jailhouse killing of convicted child molester John Geoghan, the public had every reason to believe that the findings would be made public. Or not. Over the weekend came word that the panel’s report, already a month overdue, may fail to tell the whole story. Read more
It's troublesome that Mitt Romney shirked any personal responsibility for the priest's murder. This was a high profile case, the Boston priest-abuse scandal went worldwide. It is unconscionable that he would allow his prison guards to harass and abuse the Catholic priest placed in his care. It is unconscionable that Mitt Romney would allow the elderly priest to be moved into the cell of killer. It is reprehensible that after the priest's murder, Mitt Romney tried to evade all responsibility and passed the blame to those below him.
The inquiry, by a three-member panel appointed by the state public safety secretary, found that guards "unduly harassed and physically abused" Mr. Geoghan at one prison and that he was repeatedly written up in "overzealous and unwarranted" disciplinary reports. Those reports were in turn used to classify Mr. Geoghan, a frail 68, as more dangerous than he was and to transfer him wrongly to a maximum-security prison, the investigation found. Read more