Rezendes Gets a Scoop

In early November, Judge Sweeney took action on the Globe’s request to see the documents that had disappeared from the docket file. She ordered Garabedian to re-file them. Finally, Rezendes could see the documents that Garebedian had described as “potentially explosive.” Fuller, the Globe’s attorney, secured copies of the documents, which he copied and sent to Rezendes by courier. At his desk Rezendes excitedly opened the envelope.

Bishop D'Arcy's letter to Cardinal Law
Courtesy Boston Globe

The contents amounted to a smoking gun. Most significant was a letter from Bishop John D’Arcy to Cardinal Law, written in 1984 after Law had reassigned Geoghan. D’Arcy had objected to Law’s decision, citing Geoghan’s “history of homosexual involvement with young boys.” This December 1984 warning from his top lieutenant was different from the warning Law had admitted receiving from an unnamed source in September 1984. The D’Arcy letter meant that a person high up in the archdiocese had accepted as fact Geoghan’s pedophilia. The import of the letter, says Rezendes, was clear: Law knew. He knew Geoghan was a serial pedophile when he assigned him to St. Julia’s Parish in Weston, where he was placed in charge of altar boys. Rezendes adds:

Here was a letter from basically one of his top lieutenants saying Geoghan’s a real big problem. So it showed me that Geoghan is not someone who had slipped through the cracks. Geoghan’s fate and his deeds in fact were discussed and debated at the highest levels of the archdiocese.

The documents re-filed by Garabedian also included part of a deposition by Joanne Mueller, a single mother of four boys in Melrose, a town north of Boston. Although stationed at that time in Hingham on the South Shore, Geoghan had befriended Mueller. He counseled her on spiritual matters and babysat her boys, who were between five and 12. He regularly took them to get ice cream and put them to bed. One night her third son came to her and insisted she protect him from Geoghan. "I don't want him doing that to my wee-wee,” he said, according to her testimony. She called all the boys together and learned that Geoghan had been raping them orally and anally.

She immediately went to a local priest and told him what had happened. Rev. Paul E. Miceli, who knew both Geoghan and her family, told her that Geoghan would "never be a priest again." He also advised her not to tell anyone else what had happened "[D]on't think about it,” he told her. “It will never happen again.”

There was a third important document: a letter sent by the aunt of victims to Law’s predecessor, Cardinal Medeiros. When he was stationed in Jamaica Plain from 1974 to 1980, Geoghan had abused the seven boys in the care of Maryetta Dussourd. Three of the boys were hers and four were her niece’s. Dussourd discovered what had happened after the boys confided in her sister, Margaret Gallant. Dussourd complained to the pastor of a local parish, Rev. John E. Thomas, and Geoghan was placed on “sick leave.” But a year later, in 1981, Geoghan reemerged at St. Brendan’s in Dorchester. Gallant wrote to Medeiros to object. "It embarrasses me that the church is so negligent,” she wrote. “Regardless of what he says, or the doctor who treated him, I do not believe he is cured; his actions strongly suggest that he is not, and there is no guarantee that persons with these obsessions are ever cured.”

The existence of any of these three documents, especially the letter from Bishop D’Arcy, was a huge story. Together they were a bombshell. But what should the Globe do with them?