200 காது கேட்காதா குழந்தைகளை கற்பழித்த புனித கத்தோலிக்கப் பாதிரியும் போப் பெனெடிக்டும்

Wis. priest accused of molesting 200 deaf boys

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The Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, with hands together, at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Wisconsin in 1960.

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

To many, Father Murphy appeared to be a saint: a hearing man gifted at communicating in American Sign Language and an effective fund-raiser for deaf causes. A priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, he started as a teacher at St. John’s School for the Deaf, in St. Francis, in 1950. He was promoted to run the school in 1963 even though students had disclosed to church officials in the 1950s that he was a predator.

Victims give similar accounts of Father Murphy’s pulling down their pants and touching them in his office, his car, his mother’s country house, on class excursions and fund-raising trips and in their dormitory beds at night. Arthur Budzinski said he was first molested when he went to Father Murphy for confession when he was about 12, in 1960.

“If he was a real mean guy, I would have stayed away,” said Mr. Budzinski, now 61, who worked for years as a journeyman printer. “But he was so friendly, and so nice and understanding. I knew he was wrong, but I couldn’t really believe it.”

Mr. Budzinski and a group of other deaf former students spent more than 30 years trying to raise the alarm, including passing out leaflets outside the Milwaukee cathedral. Mr. Budzinski’s friend Gary Smith said in an interview that Father Murphy molested him 50 or 60 times, starting at age 12. By the time he graduated from high school at St. John’s, Mr. Smith said, “I was a very, very angry man.”

In 1993, with complaints about Father Murphy landing on his desk, Archbishop Weakland hired a social worker specializing in treating sexual offenders to evaluate him. After four days of interviews, the social worker said that Father Murphy had admitted his acts, had probably molested about 200 boys and felt no remorse.

However, it was not until 1996 that Archbishop Weakland tried to have Father Murphy defrocked. The reason, he wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger, was to defuse the anger among the deaf and restore their trust in the church. He wrote that since he had become aware that “solicitation in the confessional might be part of the situation,” the case belonged at the doctrinal office.

With no response from Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop Weakland wrote a different Vatican office in March 1997 saying the matter was urgent because a lawyer was preparing to sue, the case could become public and “true scandal in the future seems very possible.”

Recently some bishops have argued that the 1962 norms dictating secret disciplinary procedures have long fallen out of use. But it is clear from these documents that in 1997, they were still in force.

But the effort to dismiss Father Murphy came to a sudden halt after the priest appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency.

In an interview, Archbishop Weakland said that he recalled a final meeting at the Vatican in May 1998 in which he failed to persuade Cardinal Bertone and other doctrinal officials to grant a canonical trial to defrock Father Murphy. (In 2002, Archbishop Weakland resigned after it became public that he had an affair with a man and used church money to pay him a settlement.)

Archbishop Weakland said this week in an interview, “The evidence was so complete, and so extensive that I thought he should be reduced to the lay state, and also that that would bring a certain amount of peace in the deaf community.”

Father Murphy died four months later at age 72 and was buried in his priestly vestments. Archbishop Weakland wrote a last letter to Cardinal Bertone explaining his regret that Father Murphy’s family had disobeyed the archbishop’s instructions that the funeral be small and private, and the coffin kept closed.

“In spite of these difficulties,” Archbishop Weakland wrote, “we are still hoping we can avoid undue publicity that would be negative toward the church.”

Rachel Donadio contributed reporting from Rome.

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One Response to 200 காது கேட்காதா குழந்தைகளை கற்பழித்த புனித கத்தோலிக்கப் பாதிரியும் போப் பெனெடிக்டும்

  1. devapriyaji says:

    Wis. priest accused of molesting 200 deaf boys
    By DINESH RAMDE and GRETCHEN EHLKE (AP) – 2 hours ago

    ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — Arthur Budzinski says the first time the priest molested him, he was 12 years old, alone and away from home at a school for the deaf. He says he asked the Rev. Lawrence Murphy to hear his confession, and instead the priest took him into a closet under the stairs and sexually assaulted him.
    Budzinski, now 61, was one of about 200 deaf boys at the St. John’s School for the Deaf just outside Milwaukee who say they were molested by the priest decades ago in a case now creating a scandal for the Vatican and threatening to ensnare Pope Benedict XVI.
    Some of the allegations became public years ago. But they got renewed attention this week after documents obtained by The New York Times showed that Murphy was spared a defrocking in the mid-1990s because he was protected by the Vatican office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope.
    The Vatican on Thursday strongly defended its decision not to defrock Murphy and denounced what it called a campaign to smear the pope and his aides.
    In recent weeks, Benedict has also come under fire over his handling of an abuse case against a priest in Germany three decades ago when he was a cardinal in charge of the Munich Archdiocese.
    In the Milwaukee-area case, Murphy was accused of molesting boys in the confessional, in dormitories, in closets and during field trips while working at the school for the deaf from the 1950s through 1974. Murphy died in 1998 at age 72.
    Budzinski, now a bicycle and furniture assembler at a department store, said Murphy preyed on him during the 1960s. The priest was fluent in sign language and often told the boys they were handsome, Budzinski said Thursday during an interview in which his daughter interpreted his sign language.
    He said he avoided Murphy as much as he could afterward, but when he went to Murphy’s office the following year to make another confession the priest led him to an adjoining room and sexually assaulted him again.
    “It seemed like my father would be walking into a trap every time,” said Budzinski’s 26-year-old daughter, Gigi Budzinski.
    He said Murphy assaulted him a third time the next year in Budzinski’s bed in his dormitory room. Other boys were similarly assaulted, he said.
    “They would sleep in a large open room in bunk beds,” Budzinski’s daughter said. “My father saw other boys being molested, too. They’d never talk about it.”
    Church and Vatican documents showed that in the mid-1990s, two Wisconsin bishops urged the Vatican office led by Ratzinger to let them hold a church trial against Murphy.
    However, Ratzinger’s deputy at the time decided the alleged molestation occurred too long ago and said Murphy — then ailing and elderly — should instead repent and be restricted from celebrating Mass outside of his diocese, according to the documents.
    Murphy’s alleged victims also included at least one teen in a juvenile detention center in the 1970s.
    Donald Marshall, now 45, said Murphy visited him several times a week at the detention center where he was sent at age 13 for burglary. Murphy seemed nice when others were around, Marshall said. But Marshall said he was later isolated in a cell after a fight — and the priest paid him a visit there.
    “He was sitting on my bed, reading the Bible to me, and he put his hand on my knee,” Marshall said. “He leaned over and started kissing me. That’s when he tried to put his hand down my pants.”
    The Associated Press does not normally identify victims of sex crimes but Budzinski and Marshall allowed their names to be used.
    One of the documents, written by the Rev. Thomas Brundage and dated October 1997, said some of Murphy’s assaults began in the confessional, where he began by asking the boys about their being circumcised. Brundage said at least 100 boys were involved.
    “Odds are that this situation may very well be the most horrendous, number-wise, and especially because these are physically challenged, vulnerable people,” Brundage wrote.
    Another deaf student, Steven Geier of Madison, said Murphy molested him four times in a St. John’s closet in the mid-1960s starting when Geier was 14. During the first assault Murphy demanded Geier remove his pants, and when he refused Murphy pulled them off, Geier said through a sign language interpreter.
    “Father Murphy put everything into the context of God. I felt like I was really brainwashed,” Geier said. He spoke in harsh terms about the pope, calling him “stupid” for allowing the abuse of children even though he is supposed to be doing God’s work.
    The Archdiocese of Milwaukee entered mediation in 2004 with a number of people who claimed to have been victimized by priests. The archdiocese has paid compensation to Murphy’s victims, but spokeswoman Julie Wolf would not say how much. Budzinski said he received $80,000.
    Through mid-2009, the archdiocese said, it paid out $28 million to settle allegations of clergy sexual abuse.
    “Murphy’s actions were criminal and we sincerely apologize to those who have been harmed,” the archdiocese said in a statement Thursday.
    Budzinski said that when he was 26, he and two others victimized by Murphy went to police. He said the police investigated Murphy but didn’t arrest him.
    E. Michael McCann, then the Milwaukee County district attorney, said his office reviewed the case but couldn’t file charges because the six-year statute of limitations had run out.
    Budzinski said he suspected that Murphy targeted deaf boys whose parents weren’t deaf. Back then, he said, those parents didn’t know how to communicate with their deaf children, so those youngsters were less likely to expose Murphy’s actions.
    The Vatican issued a strong defense of its handling of the Murphy case. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said there was no cover-up and denounced what it said was a “clear and despicable intention” to strike at Benedict “at any cost.”
    The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement noting that the Murphy case did not reach the Vatican until 1996 — some 20 years after Milwaukee church authorities first learned of the allegations. Lombardi said the absence of more recent allegations was a factor in the decision not to defrock Murphy.
    On Thursday, a group of Americans who say they were sexually abused by clerics held a news conference outside St. Peter’s Square in Rome to denounce Benedict’s handling of the case.
    Peter Isely, the Milwaukee-based director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called the Murphy case the most “incontrovertible case of pedophilia you could get.”
    “The goal of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was to keep this secret,” he said.
    Ehlke reported from Milwaukee. Associated Press writers Todd Richmond in Madison and Carrie Antlfinger in Milwaukee contributed to this report.
    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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