Geoghan's alleged killer in prison for killing a gay man

BY Advocate.com Editors

August 25 2003 12:00 AM ET

Investigators have revealed that the alleged killer of John J. Geoghan, a priest who was serving time in a Massachusetts prison for molesting a young boy, was a fellow prisoner serving a life sentence for murdering a gay man. Geoghan was allegedly beaten and strangled to death Saturday by Joseph L. Druce, a fellow inmate in the maximum-security Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. Druce, 37, a reputed member of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nation, was convicted for the June 1988 murder of George Rollo, 51, a gay bus driver who had picked Druce up while he was hitchhiking. Druce, who then went by his birth name, Darrin E. Smiledge, attacked Rollo, forced him into the trunk of Rollo's car, drove him to a wooded area, and strangled him, according to court documents. A fellow hitchhiker told investigators that Smiledge attacked the bus driver when Rollo made a sexual advance, according to the documents. An insanity defense failed, and Smiledge was sentenced to life in prison.

Geoghan allegedly molested nearly 150 boys over three decades, documents have shown, and helped ignite the clergy sex abuse scandal that shook the foundations of the Catholic Church. Geoghan, 68, had been serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for assault and battery on a 10-year-old boy. He'd been in protective custody since being transferred to Souza-Baranowski in April, officials said. Worcester district attorney John J. Conte said Druce will be charged with murder.

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