BOSTON (Reuters) – Patrick McSorley, a victim of defrocked pedophile priest John Geoghan who spoke openly of the deep scars left by clergy sexual abuse, has been found dead, his lawyer said on Monday.
Mitchell Garabedian, who represented McSorley and dozens of others who said they had been abused by Geoghan, confirmed reports that McSorley’s body had been found in downtown Boston, but declined further comment on the cause of death.
Boston police declined to comment, but said they had responded to a report of a “sudden death” in that neighborhood early on Monday.
“He was a loving father, a caring son, and a hero to all survivors of clergy abuse,” Garabedian said. He said he had spoken with McSorley on Friday and that he seemed “fine” at the time.
McSorley, 29, was a public face of the victims during the clergy sexual abuse scandal that erupted in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston two years ago.
Appearing frequently at news conferences alongside Garabedian, he criticized the church and spoke frankly about the inner demons with which he wrestled as a result of his abuse at Geoghan’s hands.
Geoghan was murdered last year in prison, and authorities have charged a fellow inmate with the slaying.
The archdiocese called McSorley’s passing “distressing.”
“I offer my prayers for the repose of Patrick’s soul and extend my condolences and heart-felt sympathy to his family and friends,” Boston Archbishop Sean O’Malley said in a statement.
A report detailing the scope of sexual abuse cases by Catholic clergy is to be released on Friday.
Last summer, McSorley nearly drowned in the Neponset River, and while he later told reporters he had not attempted suicide he was unable to explain how he came to be in the river.
A month after his near-drowning, McSorley was arrested on drugs charges in a Boston suburb.