BOSTON (RNS) A guilty verdict Friday in the highly publicized child molestation trial of defrocked priest John J. Geoghan raised hopes for eventual closure at the Archdiocese of Boston but raised questions of fairness with the public defender.

Geoghan faces up to 10 years for having committed indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 when he touched a boy's buttocks in a swimming pool in the early 1990s. Two more criminal cases against Geoghan, including one alleging rape of a seven-year-old boy, and dozens of civil suits remain pending.

"We hope that the victim finds some measure of consolation and satisfaction in this verdict," said Archdiocese spokesperson Donna Morrisey. "We pledge our prayers for all victims of sexual abuse and their families. We again apologize to all victims of sexual abuse by clergy, and their families, and in particular those abused by John Geoghan."

Geoghan's case has been in the public eye for years but especially so in recent weeks. Allegations emerged in the press about archdiocesan negligence for allowing him to spend three decades in parish ministry. Bad press undoubtedly helped get a conviction in a case that was "not strong," according to Geoghan's lawyer, Geoffrey Packard.

"I have never seen a case where there was such an avalanche of pre-trial publicity against the defendant," Packard said. "It's awfully hard to believe it didn't affect the decision on some level."

Geoghan, who has not yet been sentenced, is due back in court to face rape charges on Feb. 20. The case could be postponed or relocated away from Boston, however, if the court grants a request from Packard to find another venue. The court has ordered thousands of pages of related archdiocesan documents to be released to the public by Friday, and Packard expects another spate of news stories to follow.

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