PATRICK MCSORLEY
Lawrence Jackson  /  AP file
Patrick McSorley
updated 2/23/2004 3:00:59 PM ET 2004-02-23T20:00:59

Patrick McSorley, who said he had been molested by defrocked priest John Geoghan and was one of the most outspoken Boston clergy sex abuse victims, was found dead early Monday, his lawyer said.

The cause of the death was not immediately announced. McSorley, 29, nearly drowned in a river last year but denied he had attempted suicide.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said Boston police called him early Monday and told him McSorley had died.

Garabedian would not comment on the cause of death, saying all members of McSorley’s family hadn’t been notified. He said McSorley was found in a friend’s apartment in Boston’s North End.

Police would not immediately confirm McSorley’s death, but a spokesman said officers did investigate a report of a body found in the neighborhood.

McSorley had been one of the most vocal critics of the Boston Archdiocese since the sex abuse scandal first broke two years ago.

He often appeared at news conferences held by Garabedian, criticizing the archdiocese for shuffling abusive priests, including Geoghan, between parishes rather than removing them from positions where they would have contact with children.

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 slain 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,” he said.

McSorley had a troubled life. He 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.

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