Former Sox clubhouse mgr. faces sex abuse charges

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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.

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger has been sidelined a little longer than the originally expected three weeks with his right hand injury. Not that any missed time is enjoyable.

"I wanted to get back there probably a few weeks ago but unfortunately I couldn't," said Kruger, who suffered his injury on Dec. 30 against the Carolina Hurricanes. "I tried to listen to the doctors and do everything I can instead to be ready when I get cleared. That's my mindset."

Kruger is close, but not quite there, as the Blackhawks prepared for Sunday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks. Kruger skated with his teammates for the first time since being injured but wasn't among the line rushes. The center took faceoffs on his own at the end of practice. Kruger pronounced himself, "pretty close," to returning. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will see how Kruger is over the next few days. The Blackhawks play again Tuesday and Thursday before heading into the All-Star break this weekend.

The Blackhawks have missed Kruger's versatility and especially his play on the penalty kill. The Blackhawks' kill has been fine through Kruger's absence but he nevertheless is a big part of it when he's healthy.

"We have a lot of options and when he's out everyone gets a more important role, whether starting or faceoffs. And we have a rotation of five guys who are in there most of the time. But he definitely absorbs the most responsibility when he's playing in that area," Quenneville said of Kruger. "So it's nice you get to try some other guys and you get deeper as you go along."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

One of the players who's emerged in Kruger's absence is Tanner Kero, who filled his third-line center void. Kero and linemates Vinnie Hinostroza and Marian Hossa clicked on the dads trip, coming up with big plays and points in the Blackhawks' victories over Colorado and Boston. As of now, Kero appears to have the hold on third-line center.

"I don't see too many things that would change his positioning because he really helped himself," Quenneville said.

Kruger said he's fine if that means returning to fourth-line center duties. Regardless, he'll help bolster the Blackhawks' forward lines. The last step is likely contact, which Kruger got a little of – outside of faceoffs – in Sunday's skate. Kruger's had to wait a little longer than expected on his injury but he's getting there.

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

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AP

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

The sports world woke up to some tragic news on Sunday morning.

Former major leaguer Andy Marte and Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura were both killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic within an hour of each other, according to multiple reports. A Royals representative confirmed the death of 25-year-old Ventura.

The Cubs and White Sox took to Twitter to give their condolences:

Ventura was a member of the Royals from 2013-16 and won a World Series title in 2015 with Ben Zobrist and Wade Davis, who the Cubs acquired this offseason for Jorge Soler. Ventura also played with White Sox pitcher James Shields in 2013-14.

Marte, 33, played a majority of his seven-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was teammates with Todd Hollandsworth (Atlanta 2005), Kerry Wood (Cleveland 2009-10), and Miguel Montero (Arizona 2014).