CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A defrocked priest betrayed a boy's trust when he allegedly grabbed his buttocks in a swimming pool 11 years ago, and should be punished, a prosecutor said during closing arguments at John Geoghan's sex abuse trial on Thursday.
But Geoghan's defense attorney Geoffrey Packard implied the abuse charge was all about money, noting the alleged victim didn't come forward until eight years after the incident, and only after consulting an attorney, who later filed a civil suit.
Prosecutor Lynn Rooney said that if the victim was after money, he would have come up with a more dramatic story.
John Geoghan, 66, is charged with indecent assault and battery on a person under the age of 14 for allegedly improperly touching the 10-year-old boy in the fall of 1991. Geoghan was still a priest at the time. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Jurors deliberated about four hours on Thursday before adjourning for the day.
Two other sexual abuse cases are pending against Geoghan, along with 84 civil lawsuits. Since 1995, more than 130 people have claimed Geoghan fondled or raped them during the three decades he served in Boston-area parishes.
Earlier Thursday, prosecutors called a psychiatrist and the Archbishop of New Orleans as witnesses.
The Rev. Alfred Hughes, who was Geoghan's supervisor in Boston at the time of the incident, said he met with Geoghan after a woman complained about Geoghan's behavior at the Waltham Boys and Girls Club.
"A concern was brought," Hughes said. "One ... proselytizing, and then also conversation that was inappropriate and could be open to purient interpretation."
He said he told Geoghan to stay away from the Waltham club, and Geoghan agreed.
Dr. Edward Messner, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, testified Thursday for prosecutors about a November 1995 treatment session with Geoghan.
Messner said they discussed Geoghan's thoughts and fantasies about boys and that they worked through methods of suppression and substitution to combat them.
Messner said Geoghan told him he had had the thoughts since before 1991. Under cross-examination, Messner acknowledged that Geoghan never mentioned the alleged 1991 incident.
The alleged victim, now a 20-year-old college junior, testified Wednesday that Geoghan molested him in a swimming pool. Rooney said the boy trusted Geoghan because he'd seen him around the housing project where he lived, and knew he was a priest.
Packard questioned the alleged victim's account of the molestation, saying it allegedly occurred during a family swim with at least one lifeguard and 10 other people present.
"Is this the time and place that one might pick to commit an assault upon a child?" he said. "Could there possibly be a more public place?"
The remaining cases against Geoghan, the first of which is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 20 in Suffolk Superior Court, charge him with two counts each of child rape and child molestation.
Last week, Cardinal Bernard Law publicly apologized to Geoghan's victims and ordered clergy and volunteers to report allegations of abuse against minors. The Archdiocese of Boston will have "zero tolerance" for sexual abuse by priests, he said.
Law's apology came just days after The Boston Globe reported that Law, during his first year in Boston in 1984, assigned Geoghan to St. Julia's Parish in Weston, even though Geoghan had been removed from his two prior parishes for allegedly molesting children.