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Alleged sex abuse victim nearly drowns

Patrick McSorley
Patrick McSorley

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BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- One of the alleged victims of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Boston's archdiocese was recovering after nearly drowning in a river last week, his attorney said Monday.

Lawyer Mitchell Garabedian said Patrick McSorley, 28, had been taken off life support and was breathing on his own and speaking when he visited him Sunday night at Boston Medical Center.

"He's doing better but he's still recovering," Garabedian told CNN in a phone interview.

McSorley was at the heart of a lawsuit against the Catholic Church in Boston, claiming he was sexually assaulted by now-defrocked priest John Geoghan in 1986, when McSorley was 12.

Authorities said McSorley was with a friend Wednesday afternoon at Pope John Paul II Park, Boston television station WCVB reported. The two became separated. The friend later found McSorley in the Neponset River, pulled him out and started CPR.

Garabedian said his client was not yet in a position to talk about the circumstances of the incident.

McSorely's near-drowning came one day before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met for a conference in St. Louis, where bishops said the church had made progress in rooting out sexually abusive priests and protecting children. (Full story)

John Geoghan
John Geoghan

Geoghan is currently in prison after receiving a sentence in January 2002 of up to 10 years for fondling a young boy, and he faces other child sexual abuse charges. Authorities believe Geoghan was a serial sexual offender over many years, with as many as 200 victims.

Last fall, the Boston archdiocese paid $10 million to settle a suit by 86 plaintiffs, including McSorley, who said they were sexually assaulted by Geoghan.

The abuse crisis in the American Roman Catholic church began last year with evidence that church leaders in Boston had shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish rather than remove them.

Since then, at least 325 U.S. priests have resigned or been dismissed from their duties.


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