Published March 05, 2012
BOSTON – Nine more men are accusing a now-dead Boston Red Sox clubhouse manager of sexual abuse, including assaults at Fenway Park and Memorial Stadium, former home of the Baltimore Orioles.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said 11 men have now come forward to him to claim abuse by Donald Fitzpatrick between the 1960s and early 1990s.
Ten of the men worked in their teens as clubhouse attendants, including eight who worked for the Red Sox and two for the Orioles. Another man says he was 12 when Fitzpatrick lured him to his Randolph home with promises of baseball memorabilia, then molested him.
Ron Shelton, a former Orioles attendant, said Fitzpatrick molested him twice, the first time after cornering him in an equipment room in 1990 at Memorial Stadium.
"I just want to know, 'Why did this happen?' He violated me," Shelton said at a news conference with Garabedian in Boston on Monday.
Fitzpatrick, who died in 2005, resigned from the Red Sox in 1991 after the first of the charges against him. In 2002, he pleaded guilty to attempted sexual battery on a child under 12. The Red Sox have also settled a lawsuit by seven Florida men who claimed Fitzpatrick abused them.
Counting the newest allegations, 21 men in three states have accused Fitzpatrick of sexual abuse.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there were hundreds of victims of Donald Fitzpatrick out there," Garabedian said. "Pedophiles don't stop until they're caught, or until they pass away. They just do not stop and he had a 30-year reign."
Garabedian said he's asking for $5 million for each victim from the Orioles or Red Sox, depending on which team they worked for when Fitzpatrick allegedly abused them.
He called on the Red Sox to release any information they have about Fitzpatrick, including any documents related to abuse charges or if there are any confidential settlements.
Garabedian also said he's considering asking the state attorney general to conduct an investigation into Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick's death ended the possibility of criminal charges against him, and Garabedian said no civil action is possible in at least nine of his 11 cases because the statute of limitations has expired.
But he said the team should have known what was going on, and the current Sox owners have a responsibility to the victims, even though the alleged abuse happened under a different group of owners.
Garabedian is a prominent attorney for clergy sex abuse victims in Boston and he repeatedly compared the Red Sox to the Boston Archdiocese, saying the team was being equally silent about the abuse at Fenway Park.
"Another cathedral in Boston has a dirty little secret," he said.
The Red Sox on Monday released the same statement by team attorney Daniel Goldberg that they released when the first of Garabedian's clients came forward in December. The statement said Fitzpatrick's action were "abhorrent" and noted he was forced out by a previous ownership group as soon as the accusations became known.
"The club is unaware of any specifics regarding the matters brought forward recently by these individuals but, given the sensitive nature of the matter, will not have further comment," the statement read.
The Orioles did not comment.
On Monday, Shelton said his work as the visiting teams' clubhouse attendant was a "dream" job. Shelton, then 17, was based in Baltimore and would dress in the visitor's uniform and assist with various duties, including working as their batboy and handling the equipment. He even played catch with players and signed autographs.
Shelton, 38, said Fitzpatrick seemed friendly when they met and insisted people call him "Fitz." But he said Fitzpatrick first molested him after finding him alone in the equipment room and convincing him to take off his shirt after admiring his physique. After it was over, Fitzpatrick left with the instructions: "Be good."
"I felt that meant ... don't tell nobody what happened, and I'll see you the next time," Shelton said.
Shelton said he dreaded the Red Sox return trip to Baltimore that year and tried unsuccessfully to avoid Fitzpatrick when he was molested a second time. He said he quit the job after the season due to anxiety over what happened, then vowed never to talk about it, thinking he was the only victim and no one would believe him.
But he said after allegations against Fitzpatrick came out last year, he decided to come forward to help other victims.
"I can help them out by saying, 'This person, he was a monster, and you're not the only one that this happened to,'" he said.