2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Donald "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to criminal charges of attempted sexual battery in 2002, admitting that he used Boston Red Sox memorabilia to lure young, Black clubhouse workers into private areas of the team's Florida spring training facility where he assaulted them.
TAUNTON — Charles Crawford, now a Taunton resident, was 16 in 1991 when he got a job as a clubhouse attendant at Fenway Park. His job was to pick up jerseys, clean up around the clubhouse and run errands for players. He said it was a dream come true.
Crawford loved his job. He got to meet famous baseball players like Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks and Jeff Gray. And being such a baseball fan, he asked his boss and then-clubhouse manager, Donald "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick, if he could have some official gear.
"After a few weeks I had asked for a ball," he said. "And then inside the clubhouse — they had locked doors around the inside of the clubhouse — that's where we went to get the ball. And that's the first time I was assaulted."
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程According to the Associated Press, Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to criminal charges of attempted sexual battery in 2002, admitting that he used Boston Red Sox memorabilia to lure young, Black clubhouse workers into private areas of the team's Florida spring training facility where he assaulted them. He did not admit to assault in other ballparks, and died in 2005 while serving a prison sentence in Florida.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程But since then, the AP reported, more and more men have alleged that they were sexually abused by Fitzpatrick at Fenway Park and other stadiums when the Red Sox were at home or on the road.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian represents 21 men, 15 of whom are Black, who say they were abused by Fitzpatrick. But because their claims date back to the 1970s through the 1990s, they are too old to be included in civil lawsuits. Their calls for out-of-court settlements have also gone unheeded.
Crawford only worked at Fenway for two months. But just before the team left for the West Coast, Fitzpatrick called him into the dugout took him into the bathroom and assaulted him a second time.
"I was afraid and confused. I didn't know what to do," Crawford said. "I loved my job. It was an embarrassing situation...It was a great place to be and experience — I just ran into a monster."
At the time, Crawford said he thought he was the only one, and knew that Fitzpatrick was well-connected within the organization. Fitzpatrick was also his boss, and the only person he had answered to.
"Who was going to believe me?" he said. "... I was 16. I mean who was having conversations about being molested? I definitely didn't. People in my circles — we weren't talking about things like that."
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Fitzpatrick's time with the Red Sox, which spanned 30 years, ended soon after, and Crawford did not return to work at the stadium. But even though the abuse stopped, Crawford said it still greatly affected him. He said he didn't really know what he was going through at the time, which made it difficult to deal with.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Finally, over a decade later, he opened up to a trusted uncle about what happened to him, and then decided to do something about it and contacted Garabedian.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程"It took me 16 years to tell my mom, so I think I definitely pushed the feelings down," he said. "I probably couldn't express it. It definitely didn't put me on a good path."
Garabedian emphasized that the situation Crawford ended up in was one that Fitzpatrick regularly took advantage of. "[Fitzpatrick] knew it was just a matter of time with each kid who wanted autographed baseballs," he said.
And Crawford said he thinks race could have been a factor in what happened to him, especially given the other accusers.
"Donald Fitzpatrick chose vulnerable children," Garabedian said. "He knew that these children came from impoverished families — complicated, broken backgrounds — and were thrilled to be in the atmosphere of Major League Baseball. Donald Fitzpatrick was clever, and his plan was to pick on the vulnerable."
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程Crawford, Garabedian and the other men he represents are putting pressure on the Red Sox to do more for Fitzpatrick's victims. They said they want an acknowledgement of what happened, an apology, an out-of-court settlement and for them to put a program in place to prevent sexual abuse. Crawford said he thinks the organization's recent statements about caring about social justice are hollow because of their lack of response to the victims.
The Red Sox did not respond to multiple requests for comment by the Taunton Gazette. In a July 7 statement to the AP, they said, "The Red Sox have always viewed the actions — which date back as long as six decades ago — of Mr. Fitzpatrick as abhorrent. When the team, under prior ownership became aware of the allegations against Mr. Fitzpatrick in 1991, he was promptly relieved of his duties."
But Garabedian argues that even though the abuse happened under the team's previous ownership, since the Red Sox are still profiting from the legacy of the team, the current owners should bear responsibility for the negative parts of the team's legacy as well.
2020欧洲杯预选赛赛程"The current ownership is living off the good name of the Boston Red Sox. Therefore, that ownership should be responsible for the harm caused by Donald Fitzpatrick," he said. "...They say they're concerned about social justice and the need to prevent social injustice. It's time for the Boston Red Sox to back up their talk with action."
Reach Susannah Sudborough at firstname.lastname@example.org