Victims and victims’ rights groups for those abused by priests Thursday basically said “I told you so” as the chilling story of how a Milwaukee priest molested deaf boys for decades emerged.
Details revealing why the Rev. Lawrence Murphy priest was never defrocked, or prosecuted, for molesting 200 boys in a deaf school sparked an angry reaction in Wisconsin.
On Thursday the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held a press conference about Father Murphy right outside the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s headquarters. http://www.jsonline.com/features/religion/89121802.html
“We are finally able to get this where we believe it belongs, and that’s at the Vatican’s doorstep,” Mark Salmon, part of the survivor’s group, said.
On Thursday The New York Times, using formerly secret church documents, published a lengthy story about how Father Murphy, a teacher at St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, sexually abused an estimated 200 boys during his 25-year tenure at the school.
The story said that then Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland wrote then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, about disciplining Father Murphy in 1996.
Secret church proceedings were initiated against Father Murphy in Milwaukee, but the Vatican called them after the pedophile priest wrote Ratzinger, pleading that he was sick, old and just wanted to live out the rest of his life in peace.
Murphy, who died in 1998, not only was never disciplined, he was transferred to work at the Superior Diocese in northern Wisconsin.
Vatican officials Thursday defended their decision not to defrock Murphy.
Some of Father Murphy’s alleged victims have filed civil suits against the Milwaukee Diocese, which Thursday issued an apology for the priest’s actions.
“Murphy’s actions were criminal and we sincerely apologize to those who have been harmed,” the statement said.
In total, there are 11 civil fraud cases involving 17 victims, including at least one involving Murphy, pending against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, according to the Milwaukee Jounral Sentinel.
The Milwaukee Archdiocese as of last year had shelled out $28 million to settle cases involving sexual abuse by priests.
On Thursday one of the victims who settled his suit for $80,000, told a horrific story to the Associated Press about how he had been molested by Father Murphy when he was 12. That victim, 61-year-old Arthur Budinski, was first assaulted when he asked the pedophile priest to hear his confession. Instead, Father Murphy took him into a closet and molested him.
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