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