Former priest’s alleged killer testifies about childhood abuse |

Former priest’s alleged killer testifies about childhood abuse

WORCESTER, Mass. – The inmate accused of killing pedophile priest John Geoghan took the witness stand Friday, describing years of childhood sexual and physical abuse that his attorneys said helped drive an uncontrollable rage that led to the slaying.Joseph Druce referred to killing the defrocked priest only once during his hour-long testimony, after describing being raped by a staff member at a residential school he attended as a boy.”That’s what triggered me … I heard them talking about it,” he said, apparently referring to earlier testimony about Druce’s claims that he had overheard Geoghan talking to other inmates about molesting boys.Druce’s lawyers don’t dispute that he killed Geoghan, a central figure in the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal, but they say he was suffering from severe mental illness and should not be convicted.Druce, 40, told investigators he killed Geoghan in his prison cell in August 2003 to stop him from molesting more children. Earlier Friday, as Druce was being escorted out of the courtroom for a recess, he shouted “God save all the innocent kids.”At the time of his death, Geoghan was serving a 9- to 10-year prison sentence for fondling a 10-year-old boy, but he was accused in lawsuits of sexually abusing some 150 children over three decades in the Boston Archdiocese.Druce had gone to the residential school from ages 8 to 13. He said two staff members there regularly sexually and physically abused him – spanking him, locking him in a closet and holding his head under water.Druce also said he was raped three times by a 26-year-old man friend who his mother had sent him to live with when he was 13.”I didn’t let it happen. I couldn’t stop it,” he said.Druce, who is already serving a life sentence for killing a man he suspected of making a pass at him, was expected to resume his testimony on Monday.A defense psychiatrist testified Friday that Druce was suffering from several mental illnesses and was unable to control his rage.Keith Ablow of New England Medical Center said Druce suffered greatly during his childhood, including beatings from his father and repeated rapes by several people he trusted.When Druce allegedly overheard Geoghan talking about his plans to get out of prison and leave the country so he could molest more children, it brought back painful memories of Druce’s own rapes, Ablow said.”He came to see himself as an avenger of those acts, and that led directly to (Geoghan’s murder),” Ablow said.Prosecutors say Druce carefully and methodically planned the murder for five weeks, watching for the moment when he could slip into Geoghan’s cell without being detected by guards and bringing a book with him to jam the cell door shut.Vail, Colorado

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