NY Times Gives Chilling Account of Deaf Boys' Plight with Abuse
Father Lawrence Murphy: Pedophile Priest
In an ongoing investigative report series, The New York Times today is running a piece which gives the account of the plight of some deaf boys who were sexually abused when they were at a Wisconsin school for the deaf run by Rev. Lawrence C Murphy.
The boys, although deaf, did not remain silent about the abuse, and tried for decades to inform officials that it had occurred.
Church documents reveal that the boys had endeavored to make officials know what had transpired, but to no avail:
They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.
It was reported this week that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict XVI - had received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.”
But the Vatican remained silent, and sat on the case for years.
A long and dark history of global abuse
This , it seems, has been the case globally, as revealed in stories which continue to emerge about the Catholic Church and its long and (until now) secret history of pedophilia.
Father Murphy remained a priest until his death in 1998. One of his victims, Steven Grier, said that he believed Murphy ought to have been in prison "for a very long time".
With some bitterness, Grier points out that although the boys were admonished "not to touch girls", the hypocritical priests were not concerned about restraining their own lusts toward young male victims.
Grier spoke of the shame and confusion that the young boys felt, and yet even in the 1950s, some of them attempted to come forward and to tell officials their stories.
Grier now lives in Madison , Wisconsin and is married. He told the New York Times - with the help of interpreter - about his life at the St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wis., when he was 9.
Coming from a Catholic family, his father and aunts had thought he was going to get a "good solid Catholic education". He claims his abuse began when he was 14 years old in 1965.
The priest had told the boy in sign language that God wanted him to have a secret lesson regarding sex. Grier said he was mortified and sickened.
“First thing in the morning,” Mr. Geier said, “we took communion, and as he passed out the communion wafers, I thought about how many boys did he touch with those hands and all of the germs, all of the filth of his hands.”
It is alleged by the victims' reports and through social worker reports conducted at the bequest of the Archdiocese that Father Murphy, during the period of 1950-1974, may have molested as many as 200 boys. Using the school for the deaf as a conduit for his desires, he had a steady supply available to him, and had no qualms about invoking the name of the lord in vain.
Grier said he told several priest when he was still a teen, but was told to forget and keep quiet about the incidents.
The one priest who did care, informed a nun, and told her to make up a report to her supervisor, but she neglected to do this.
Internal church correspondence documents from a legal suit, and given to the New York Times, describe 1960s reports of abuse.
Father Murphy was sent to a retreat, after some of the reports were issued. He was then told to return to the school and "undo the harm" he had done.
One Catholic church spokesmen remarked that Father Murphy had become the school's director and top fundraiser, and that " a priest who is also a criminal was an oxymoron back then".
Mr. Conway said it was only when they filed a lawsuit that the archdiocese removed Father Murphy from St. John’s and sent him to northern Wisconsin to live at his family’s summer house. The lawsuit was withdrawn. Mr. Smith, one of two of the plaintiffs whose cases were still within the statute of limitations, received a settlement of $2,000, he and Mr. Conway said.
Father Murphy continued working in parishes and schools, with deaf people, and leading youth retreats in the Diocese of Superior for the next 24 years.