Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vatican Knew Priest Molested 200 Deaf Boys

Some 200 deaf boys were molested by a priest who was never defrocked by the Catholic Church. The New York Times reports that Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI were a part of the decision. The situation become public because of a lawsuit that revealed correspondence between Wisconsin Bishops and the future pope Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Five men are suing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The letters show Ratzinger was more concerned about protecting the church from scandal than the welfare of the children. He and other officials did not alert the authorities or even discipline the priests involved in sexual abuse while he served as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

American priest Lawrence C. Murphy served at Wisconsin's St. John’s School for the Deaf from 1950 to 1974. He first taught classes and became effective at raising money for deaf causes and was eventually promoted to run the school in 1963 - even though church officials already knew he sexually abused children.

A group of deaf former students spent decades trying to get something changed, even handing out fliers outside the Milwaukee cathedral. Eventually, an internal investigation of Murphy showed he was not remorseful and he appealed to Ratzinger for leniency. Murphy died at the age of 72, buried in his priestly garments.