Former Sox clubhouse mgr. faces sex abuse charges


Former Sox clubhouse mgr. faces sex abuse charges

From Comcast SportsNet

BOSTON (AP)A man who worked as a teenager in the Red Sox clubhouse with big-name players such as Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs said his dream job ended abruptly when the clubhouse manager sexually assaulted him.

Charles Crawford and another Massachusetts man are now accusing Donald Fitzpatrick of abusing them in the early 1990s and are seeking 5 million settlements from the team. The statute of limitations has expired for filing a lawsuit, and Fitzpatrick died in 2005.

During a news conference Monday, Crawford said Fitzpatrick assaulted him twice inside the clubhouse at Fenway Parkonce in an equipment room and once in a restroom. He was 16 at the time.

People need to know what happened, said Crawford, who agreed to have his name used. Its still mind-boggling to me.

Fitzpatrick had been accused of sexually abusing children earlier. In 2002, he pleaded guilty in Florida to attempted sexual battery on a child under 12. The team also settled a lawsuit with seven Florida men who said Fitzpatrick molested them during spring training beginning in the 1970s.

Crawfords lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said the newest allegations are believed to be the first time that Fitzpatrick has been accused of molesting boys at Fenway. The new allegations were first reported by The Boston Globe.

Garabedian said he sent the Red Sox a letter last month informing them of the new allegations and asking for the settlements.

Red Sox attorney Daniel Goldberg did not immediately return two calls seeking comment Monday, but in a statement he said the Red Sox have always viewed the actions of Mr. Fitzpatrick to be abhorrent.

When the team, then under a previous ownership group, became aware of the allegations against Mr. Fitzpatrick in 1991, he was promptly relieved of his duties, Goldberg said. He said the club does not have any specifics on the two recent allegations.

Crawford said he was thrilled when he got a job as a clubhouse attendant, running errands for the players, getting them food and cleaning up around the clubhouse.

It was a dream job for me, he said. It was the best job in the world for a kid.

Then one day, he asked for a baseball and Fitzpatrick led him to the equipment room, which was a locked room away from anyone else in the clubhouse, Crawford said.

Everything happened fast. I couldnt tell anybody, he said.

Garabedian said Crawford has had trouble holding jobs, served a short stint in jail for a drug conviction and fathered five children with five women.

Ive been running from a lot of things, Crawford said.

Crawford, now 36, said he never told anyone about what happened until 2006, when he revealed the abuse to his mother. He said he decided to come forward now after U.S. Sen. Scott Browns revelation earlier this year that he was molested by a counselor at a summer camp when he was 10 and the more recent sexual abuse allegations made against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Garabedian, who represented hundreds of victims during the Boston clergy sex-abuse scandal, said the teams lawyers have asked to meet with his clients.

Baseball is not more important than protecting the lives of innocent children against predators, he said.

The second man now coming forward asked not to be identified. Garabedian said he is an educator and is married with children.

The man, who worked as a bat boy in 1991, was traveling with the Red Sox in Anaheim, Calif., when another clubhouse attendant held a sign during a televised game that said, Donald Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted me.

At the time, team officials said that Fitzpatrick decided to take an indefinite leave of absence. He never returned.

In a phone interview Monday, the man said Fitzpatrick fondled and groped him at least a half dozen times.

He said he remembers some of the Red Sox players joking sarcastically about Fitzpatrick.

They would say, Did Fitzy touch your arm or did he touch your leg? and then laugh, the man said. I think they were joking because they sensed something was odd, and I think they knew he was strange.

Crawford said he would like to meet with the team owners and get an apology.

Griffins hope to avoid 'sick feeling' going forward after blowout loss to Bradley

Griffins hope to avoid 'sick feeling' going forward after blowout loss to Bradley

Not all losses are created equal.

When Lincoln-Way East suffered a 35-30 defeat in Week 3 to Homewood-Flossmoor, the Griffins took positives away from the loss. They had held a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, battled back from adversity in the second half and had a chance to win the game in the final minute. Even that loss in retrospect appeared acceptable – if there ever was an acceptable loss – as the Vikings are currently 8-0 and in their other seven wins have outscored their opponents by an average of 38 points.

By Week 3 the Griffins were still acclimating to the unique situation of playing at game speed with a host of Lincoln-Way North students who had transferred in the offseason. They had a defense made up almost entirely of first-year starters, and the offense was still rotating quarterbacks Jake Arthur and Max Shafer to figure out how to maximize their talent. By many standards the Griffins went toe-to-toe for 48 minutes with a team also considered to be a favorite for a state title.

The same couldn’t be said for the Griffins’ effort last Friday night in Bradley.

An esteemed program with a 2005 state title and 16 consecutive playoff appearances to their resume, it isn’t often the Griffins are embarrassed on Friday night. But those were the words head coach Rob Zvonar used in his postgame speech to the team following their 38-21 loss to the undefeated Boilermakers.

“We chose to play the game,” Zvonar began. “Which means you play it to the greatest of your ability and you honor each other, God, everybody by your play. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

There were plenty of reasons the Griffins suffered their second loss of the season. That is came in such blowout fashion was the bigger surprise. The Boilermakers found the end zone on their first two possessions, rallying behind a raucous home crowd hoping to see their team go 8-0 for the first time in school history.

The Griffins defense, which had allowed 27 points the previous three weeks combined, were on their heels as the Boilermakers used misdirection and a few trick plays to set up the short touchdown runs.

The Griffins offense moved down the field on their fourth possession, moving inside the Boilermakers red zone looking to get on the board. But Iowa commit Camron Harrell stepped in front of a Griffins screen pass on 4th down and returned it 89 yards for a score. On the final play of the first quarter, with the Griffins moving again, Damien Williams read a route and picked off Jake Arthur, returning it 53 yards for a score to give the Boilermakers a shocking 28-0 lead after 12 minutes.

After a spirited halftime speech from Zvonar, the Griffins came out firing in the second half, scoring on a touchdown run from Nigel Muhammad and a Jeremy Nelson 27-yard reception from Arthur. But the Boilermakers weathered the storm each time Lincoln-Way East attempted a comeback. The Griffins only got as close as 14 points late in the fourth quarter.

“I think we came into this game not ready,” said Muhammad, who finished with 164 yards on 24 carries. “But we’re all a team and we all accept this loss together.”

Added senior Jack Carroll, who finished with a team-high nine tackles: “We have this sick feeling in our stomach right now but the best thing is (next) Friday we can come back and get it out of our stomach. If we lose again in the playoffs then we’ll have that sick feeling in our stomach for the rest of our lives.”

That’s now the reality for the Griffins, and a silver lining if there ever could be one for such a blowout loss. With the playoffs a mere week away – the Griffins defeated Lockport on Friday to finish the regular season 7-2 – the feeling each of them felt getting on the bus back to Frankfort will linger with them and act as a reminder of how quickly things can slip away.

“We’re trying to put this behind us,” said Max Shafer. “We’re going to try to get hot and make a run in the playoffs.”

In a loaded 8A class, the Griffins’ two regular-season losses have already knocked them down in the seeding process. While any loss before Week 9 means little in the long run – the Griffins locked up a playoff berth weeks ago – it also means a more difficult road to Champaign. But that’s the reality for Zvonar’s group, and whether it’s a defense playing faster or an offense avoiding costly mistakes, the Griffins are running out of time to right the ship.

But Zvonar believes such a loss as the team suffered last Friday night can act as the catalyst to doing just that. The Griffins have established themselves as one of the state’s premier programs, and that means not riding the highs too high, and not breaking apart when the lows come. Last Friday night was as low as Zvonar had seen any of his 16 teams, but the silver lining occurred in that his squad now knows what it has to do to avoid it when it’s win or go home.

“What we also think is that the program is built on a solid foundation, so when you take a little hit like that you battle back and you go back to what you believe in and what you know can be successful. And that’s fundamentals and keeping things simple, and the kids have bounced back and they’re not acceptable to them what occurred to them, so very proud of their effort and the way they’re working.

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