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Accusations Of Sexual Abuse By Red Sox Clubhouse Manager Widens

Donald Fitzpatrick during a court hearing in Bartow, Fla., in 2002.
Greg Fight
Donald Fitzpatrick during a court hearing in Bartow, Fla., in 2002.

By the Associated Press' count, 21 men have have now come forward to allege that a former clubhouse manager for the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles sexually assaulted them when they were children. The abuse allegedly happened between 1967 and 1991.

The AP reports that, today, eight of those men stepped forward saying they were assaulted by Donald Fitzpatrick, who died in 2005, at Boston's Fenway Park and Baltimore's Memorial Stadium.

The AP adds:

"Ten of the men worked in their teens as clubhouse attendants, including eight who worked for the Red Sox and two for the Orioles. Another man says he was 12 when Fitzpatrick lured him to his Randolph home with promises of baseball memorabilia, then molested him.

"Ron Shelton, a former Orioles attendant, said Fitzpatrick molested him twice, the first time after cornering him in an equipment room in 1990 at Memorial Stadium.

"'I just want to know, "Why did this happen?" He violated me,' [Ron Shelton, a former Orioles attendant,] said at a news conference with Garabedian in Boston on Monday."

Of course, this case is highlighted by the fact that it comes just after the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Penn State. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who served as attorney for some of the victims during the Catholic Church scandal, drew that comparison.

Grabedian said the team had kept quiet just like the church did.

"Another cathedral in Boston has a dirty little secret," he said.

The Boston Globe looked at the backgrounds of some of the accusers and found no criminal records. They also corroborated that the accusers had indeed worked for the Orioles and Red Sox.

The Globe reports a bit on Shelton and another victim who was not named:

"Shelton said he was alone in an equipment room before a game on June 15, 1990, when Fitzpatrick walked in, closed the door, and sexually molested him. 'Good man,' Fitzpatrick told him afterward, according to Shelton, who was 17 at the time. Fitzpatrick was 61.

"The other alleged Baltimore victim said he was 16 when he found himself alone in the equipment room with Fitzpatrick in 1986. He said he had asked Fitzgerald for a smaller pair of uniform pants than the Sox had provided. He alleged Fitzpatrick shut the door, sexually abused him as he tried on a new pair of pants, then said, 'You be good.'

"'I knew what that meant: shut up,' the alleged victim said."

The Orioles did not comment on the allegations and the Red Sox issued the same statement they released in December when the first claims came to light.

"The Red Sox have always viewed the actions of Mr. Fitzpatrick to be abhorrent," the club's lawyer Daniel Goldberg said, according to the Globe. "When the team, under a previous ownership group, became aware of the allegations against Mr. Fitzpatrick in 1991, he was promptly relieved of his duties. . . . The club is unaware of any specifics regarding the matters brought forward recently by these individuals but, given the sensitive nature of the matter, will not have further comment."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.