BOSTON – Patrick McSorley (search), who accused defrocked priest John Geoghan (search) of molesting him and became one of the most outspoken victims in the Boston Archdiocese (search) sex scandal, was found dead Monday at 29.
The cause of the death was not immediately disclosed. McSorley nearly drowned in a river last year but denied he had attempted suicide.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said police called him early Monday and told him McSorley's body was found in a friend's apartment in Boston.
An autopsy was performed Monday; the state medical examiner's office said results would not be made public until completion of toxicology tests, which could take up to three months.
McSorley had been one of the most vocal critics of the archdiocese since the scandal broke two years ago. He often appeared at news conferences held by Garabedian, criticizing the archdiocese for shuffling Geoghan and other child-molesting priests from one parish to another instead of removing them.
McSorley's lawsuit in the Geoghan case was among the first of hundreds eventually filed against the archdiocese. The church settled with 86 plaintiffs, including McSorley, for $10 million in 2002. Geoghan was beaten and strangled in prison last year.
Garabedian said he last spoke to McSorley on Friday, when McSorley asked for a meeting to discuss the status of clergy sex abuse cases.
"Patrick was interested in supporting victims of clergy sexual abuse even though his case had been resolved. He wanted to make sure that no children were molested by pedophile priests in the future," Garabedian said.
"Patrick is to be admired for his strength, courage and determination for standing up to the powers of the church."
Alexa MacPherson, a friend of McSorley's who also was a victim of clergy sex abuse, said McSorley abused drugs and alcohol and had been in and out of rehab.
"The memories of what had happened to him — he had to battle continuously," she said. "He would do almost anything to escape the pain."
MacPherson said she had driven McSorley several times to the apartment where he was found dead, but she learned he was doing drugs there and refused to take him there again.
McSorley was arrested on drug charges in July, less than a month after he nearly drowned in the Neponset River. He said later that he had no memory of how he ended up in the river, but maintained it was not a suicide attempt.
McSorley said he was sexually abused in 1986, at age 12, when Geoghan visited his family's home to offer condolences on the death of his father. He said Geoghan molested him while taking him out for ice cream.
Archbishop Sean O'Malley (search), who replaced Cardinal Bernard Law (search) after Law resigned at the height of the scandal, said the archdiocese's outreach staff would be available to other victims and their families who are affected by McSorley's death.
"The tragic death of Patrick McSorley saddens everyone," O'Malley said in a statement. "I offer my prayers for the repose of Patrick's soul and extend my condolences and heart-felt sympathy to his family and friends."