Two men have come forward and accused a now-deceased former Red Sox clubhouse manager of sexually assaulting them in the early ’90s, when they were both teenage clubhouse attendants.
On August 22, 1991, then 16-year-old Charles Crawford, a student at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, MA, was asked to come in early by clubhouse manager Donald Fitzpatrick. Crawford was spending the summer with the Sox as a clubhouse attendant. That night, Crawford says, Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted him in the clubhouse restroom.
In addition to Crawford, a second man accused Fitzpatrick of abusing him (the second man wasn’t named). Both men are seeking $5 million each from the Red Sox. A lawyer for Crawford said the club was negligent:
“Don Fitzpatrick was molesting children over the course of more than 20 years, and someone in the Red Sox organization had to know about it and turned their back on the children,’’ said [Crawford’s lawyer Mitchell] Garabedian.
This isn’t the first time that Fitzpatrick has been named in a sexual abuse case: his name has come up in a number of sexual assault accusation from former clubhouse attendants (all of whom were African-American). In 2002, he was finally convicted.
In 2002, Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty in Florida to attempted sexual battery on a child under 12. The following year, the team settled a lawsuit with seven Florida men who said Fitzpatrick molested them during spring training beginning in the 1970s.
The accusations made today are the first time the alleged abuse occurred in the Red Sox clubhouse. Fitzpatrick left the team in 1991, shortly after a former clubhouse attendant displayed a sign at a televised game against the Angels in Anaheim that said, “Donald Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted me.’’ The team later paid the former attendant $100,000.
Fitzpatrick died in 2005, while serving a 10-year sentence and 15 years probation for the Florida cases. The newest accusations come at a time when sexual abuse scandals in sports have been front in center — first Jerry Sandusky and Penn State, then Bernie Fine and Syracuse. According to Crawford, neither of those stories inspired him to come forward: he decided to go public after Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown revealed that he was sexually abused at a Cape Cod summer camp 40 years ago.