Pubdate: Fri, 17 May 2002
Source: Denver Rocky Mountain News (CO)
Copyright: 2002, Denver Publishing Co.
Author:  Vickie Chachere, Associated Press


TAMPA, Fla.- The men who reported being abused as boys by a retired Boston 
Red Sox clubhouse manager told investigators they were also used by some 
players as drug couriers, records released Friday said.

In more than 80-pages of interviews from the Florida Department of Law 
Enforcement, the victims gave agents lists of dozens of players and team 
officials who might have known Donald James Fitzpatrick was molesting boys 
as young as 4-years-old.

The lists include the names of some of the Red Sox biggest stars during the 
past two decades, according to the documents obtained by The Associated Press.

None of the players said to have knowledge of the abuse or the boys being 
asked to ferry drugs could immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Fitzpatrick, 72, told agents he too believed some players likely knew he 
was abusing boys.

In sworn statements to the agents, several of the victims told FDLE agents 
some players sent the clubhouse boys to purchase cocaine and marijuana for 
them and bring it back to the clubhouse, both at the team's spring training 
site in Winter Haven and in Boston.

Agents didn't fully pursue the questioning of the players, nor the 
accusations the children were used to buy drugs, in the eight-month 
investigation. The allegations, some dating back to the early 1970s, would 
not have led to criminal charges because the statutes of limitations has 
expired, an FDLE supervisor said.

Still, the accusers _ many of whom did not know other potential victims 
existed at the time they were being questioned _ gave similar accounts 
under oath about the molestation, players' possible knowledge of the abuse 
and the use of the clubhouse boys to ferry drugs.

Agents said Friday they were in the process of pursuing leads that players 
knew of the abuse when Fitzpatrick confessed to molesting the boys.

No longer needing the corroboration of the players to prove Fitzpatrick 
committed a crime, only one of the players named, Wade Boggs, was 
interviewed because he was in Tampa at the time.

Agents also sought to interview Ted Williams, but the Hall of Famer who 
lives in Florida, was too ill for questioning, the records said.

"We had our case done basically," said FDLE Special Agent Supervisor 
Richard Pyles, who oversaw the investigation. "The intricacies of what the 
kids were saying were right in line."

Attorneys representing six men in the civil lawsuit, though, are pursuing 
those issues, said Neal O'Toole, who represents six accusers

The eight-month criminal investigation formally ended Thursday when 
Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to attempted abuse of four of the youngest 
victims. Authorities do not believe Fitzpatrick, who is in poor health, is 
still a danger to children.

He is now serving 15 years probation and has paid the four victims $10,000 
each. A separate federal civil lawsuit filed by six men against Fitzpatrick 
and the Red Sox is pending.

A total of 13 men, ranging in age from their late teens to late 30s, have 
reported to investigators they were abused by Fitzpatrick, who specifically 
recruited black boys to work in the team's clubhouse.

Fitzpatrick, who started with the team as a bat boy in 1944, retired in 
1991 after the team was confronted with allegations of abuse.

The Red Sox did not respond Friday to requests for comments on the 
revelations in the FDLE report. The documents show the team offered 
$100,000 to a total of seven victims when their accusations were first 
levied last fall.

The team also paid for a Harvard psychiatrist to evaluate one particularly 
troubled victim and told the father of another victim to send the team his 
son's therapy bills.

The team balked, though, at paying another victim's demand for $32 million. 
One victim also attempted to sell the story to the National Enquirer, the 
FDLE report said.

The team was cooperating with the agents pursuing interviews with players 
who might have witnessed the abuse, Pyles said. Major league baseball 
officials also volunteered to help.

Still, the only player to be interviewed in the investigation was Boggs.

Under oath, he told agents he regarded Fitzpatrick as a nice man, even 
allowing his 5-year-old son to associate with Fitzpatrick. That changed in 
1991 when a former bat boy held up a sign at a game in Anaheim, Calif., 
saying Fitzpatrick had molested him.

Boggs told investigators he and other players thought the accusation might 
have been false, but the decided "to keep an eye out" on Fitzpatrick.

"This included not allowing his son to associate with Fitzpatrick," the 
FDLE report said.

O'Toole said some players were specifically aware of Fitzpatrick's 
"affinity for black children" and they likely will become witnesses in the 
unfolding civil case.

Some of those players confronted Fitzpatrick; O'Toole declined to name 
them, saying they likely will be important witnesses in his case.
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