How did a convicted murderer manage to strangle a fellow inmate, namely a pedophile priest at the center of a church sex abuse scandal, in one of Massachusetts’ most secure prisons? Apart from anything else, did the guy get off too easy?

Geoghan was apparently killed by Joseph Druce, 37, Worcester County District Attorney John Conte said on Saturday, declining to say how he was choked to death. An autopsy is planned for Monday and murder charges will be filed.

The 68-year old defrocked priest, who was serving a sentence for groping a boy while they were swimming, was a central figure in the sex scandal that sent shockwaves through the Roman Catholic Church in the United States and abroad.

His prosecution helped uncover a string of pedophile cases that forced Cardinal Bernard Law to resign last year as leader of the Boston Archdiocese, home to more than two million Catholics and the emotional heart of the Church in the United States.

Geoghan’s violent death shocked the city and more than 130 people who have filed lawsuits charging he abused them over a span of 40 years when he was being shuttled around several parishes in the Boston area.

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