An ex-priest from Boston, at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church in America, was jailed for up to ten years yesterday. Judge Sandra Hamlin said John Geoghan, 66, had hidden behind his clerical collar to prey on young boys. Geoghan was convicted of indecent assault and battery last month in the first of three criminal cases against him. Since 1995, more than 130 people have claimed he fondled or raped them, during the thirty years he served in Boston parishes. He is also named in more than 80 civil suits. The case has led to major changes in the way the Archdiocese of Boston deals with allegations of abuse. During trial investigations, the church was forced to hand over thousands of pages of documents revealing that the diocese had quietly settled child sex abuse claims against at least 70 priests in the last ten years. In the wake of the scandal, there have been many calls for the resignation of Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law. A recent poll for the Boston Globe found that 48 per cent of Catholics in the area believe he should go. Law, with five other bishops, have been accused of knowing of Geoghan's abuses but ignoring them and shuttling him from parish to parish. The cardinal has made several public apologies, but says he will not step down.
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