A Devout Plea from Dussourd Victims' Relative


Following are excerpts from an August 1982 letter Margaret Gallant sent to the late Cardinal Humberto Medeiros complaining about his failure to remove the Rev. John Geoghan from active ministry after he sexually abused seven boys from her extended family.

[See the main article Church allowed abuse by priest for years. See also the handwritten original of Gallant's letter, the Globe's full transcript of it, and the reply by Cardinal Medeiros. At the beginning of her letter, Gallant refers to a meeting with Bishop Thomas V. Daily, whose own report of that 7/24/82 meeting is in the files.]

Dear Eminence,

As you know, our family had a conference with Bishop Daly over two weeks ago.

Since that priest is still in his parish, it appears that no action has been taken. Am I to assume now that we were patronized?

Our family is deeply rooted in the Catholic Church, our great-grandparents and parents suffered hardship and persecution for love of the Church. Our desire is to protect the dignity of the Holy Orders, even in the midst of our tears and agony over the seven boys in our family who have been violated. We cannot undo that, but we are obligated to protect others from this abuse to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.

It was suggested that we keep silent to protect the boys—that is absurd since minors are protected under law, and I do not wish to hear that remark again, since it is insulting to our intelligence.

I have a tremendous love and respect for you Cardinal ... but I am very angry with you now, and do not understand this.

While it is true that a layman in the same situation would only be confined for observation for a limited time—he would also be EXPOSED. Parents would know then not to allow children near this type person. In this case, not only do they not know, but by virtue of his office he gains access quite easily, which compounds our responsibility!


Regardless of what HE says, or the doctor who treated him, I do not believe he is cured; his actions strongly suggest that he is not, and there is no guarantee that persons with these obsessions are ever cured...

...I have not told my sister or my niece that that priest is still functioning—I fear the consequences of telling them. I have told my brother, and he and I will take this case to the Holy Father if need be...

...My two sisters and my niece never as much as received an apology from the church, much less any offer for counseling for the boys. It embarrasses me that the Church is so negligent...

My heart is broken over this whole mess—and to address my Cardinal in this manner has taken its toll on me too. May Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit have mercy on all of us.

Margaret Gallant



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.