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Monday, August 25, 2003

Victims' Tasteless Reaction to Geoghan Murder

More evidence that some church abuse victims have lost their minds:

"'They're not happy about this,' attorney Mitchell Garabedian said at a news conference at his Boston office, where he was joined by two alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse. 'This is not going to help victims heal. They feel as though this has reopened wounds, that they did not need this figurative salt in their wounds.'

"There was no mention of Geoghan yesterday during Mass celebrated by Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley at St. Rose of Lima in Chelsea, but prayers were offered for Geoghan elsewhere in the archdiocese.

"Such prayers were 'in poor taste,' Michael Linscott, 45, an alleged victim of Geoghan, said at the news conference.

"The news that Geoghan was beaten and strangled in prison on Saturday was still sinking in, Linscott said. He said his initial reaction was mixed, one of relief and sadness.

"'I did have that moment of, `You know what, he got what he deserved,' but at the same time, a lot of people are still suffering, and this hasn't changed that,' he said.

"Linscott, who said he was abused by Geoghan while he was a young parishioner at St. Paul's in Hingham, said Geoghan's death did not bring him a sense of closure. 'As victims, we'll all live in our own prison for the rest of our lives, and he got out of his,' Linscott said. 'He got off easy.'"

Linscott doesn't seem to realize that his own comments are in bad taste here. A man was brutally murdered, and we're supposed to believe he "got off easy"? And this is "salt in the wounds" of victims? Don't they feel even a bit of regret for causing such a publicity storm over Geoghan? Seeking media attention was admittedly necessary to get the church to fess up to its misdeeds, but why was a press conference necessary yesterday, for example?

They made Geoghan such a notable figure that he was targeted in prison. The state bears responsibility for allowing this to happen, but that doesn't prevent victims from feeling sympathy for the slain Geoghan. That, however, would require that Linscott still have the capacity for human feeling beyond just feeling sorry for himself.