Druce Describes Thoughts Leading up Geoghan Killing

By Denise Lavoie
The Associated Press, carried in
January 23, 2006

WORCESTER, Mass. --In the weeks before he strangled pedophile priest John Geoghan in his prison cell, Joseph Druce confronted the former priest about molesting children, Druce testified Monday at his murder trial.

Instead of denying the accusations against him, Geoghan was "arrogant" and said he was worth far more than the millions the Boston Archdiocese had already paid to settle molestation lawsuits against him.

"I was just, like, that's it, that's it. I've got to stop this" guy, Druce said. "I couldn't get it out of my head."

Prosecutors began calling rebuttal witnesses after the defense rested two weeks into the trial in Worcester Superior Court. Judge Francis Secteau told the jury they would hear closing arguments and begin deliberations in the case Tuesday.

Druce testified for a second day Monday about the Aug. 23, 2003, killing of Geoghan, a defrocked priest who was serving time for groping a 10-year-old boy and had been accused of molesting 150 other children.

Druce, who is already serving a life sentence in another murder, is using an insanity defense, arguing that his own molestation as a child and years in prison had filled him with rage.

During his often-rambling testimony, Druce described elaborate fantasies he used to pass the time in prison. He said he imagined himself as a Hollywood mogul, living in mansions and having beautiful actresses as his girlfriends. He also said he fantasized about meeting the Pope, who would make him a saint.

He did not describe the actual killing, but was asked by his attorney, John LaChance, to describe what was going through his mind during the murder and in the weeks leading up to it.

Druce said he heard Geoghan talking on the phone to his sister and also overheard conversations he had with other inmates about plans to move to South America once he was released from prison so he could work with children again.

In one conversation, Druce said, he overheard Geoghan discussing with other inmates how to molest young boys.

"That just, like, freaked me out," he said.

He confronted Geoghan twice about what he had heard, Druce said. During one conversation, he told Geoghan, "You're bankrupting the archdiocese, you're costing them $10 million," a reference to the amount the church had paid out in lawsuits.

Geoghan replied, "I'm worth $20 million," Druce said.

During a later conversation, Druce claimed he told Geoghan he had molested 150 to 200 children and "destroyed all kinds of lives." Druce claimed Geoghan responded, "I'm worth 300 of them."

When asked by his lawyer why he killed Geoghan, Druce referred to his claims that he was molested as a child.

"I wanted to get the thoughts out of my mind of being molested myself, and the arrogant way he answered my questions," Druce said.

During an aggressive cross-examination, prosecutor Lawrence Murphy repeatedly pressed Druce about the level of planning involved in the killing. He told investigators he had planned to kill Geoghan for five weeks.

But Druce repeated that he was "driven" to do it.

"It wasn't about planning. I had to stop him and that was that," Druce said. "He was a sick, degenerate pedophile that victimized hundreds of kids."

Druce also used his responses to rail about the Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law and other church supervisors who shifted Geoghan from parish to parish after receiving allegations that he was molesting children.

Under questioning from his attorney, Druce said he killed Geoghan to "make a statement."

"I had seen myself as the designated individual who had to put a stop to the pedophilia in the church," he said.

After Geoghan was dead, he said, he felt relief. "It had been done. It was over ... I had peace of mind."


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