Sunday, March 26, 2006

Shared secrets reveal much suffering in silence

Mary Zahn in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the first of a two part series on sexual abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy of students while he was director of St. John's School for the Deaf in St. Francis, a suburb of Milwaukee.
How many deaf children Murphy molested remains unknown. He was at St. John's for 24 years [starting in 1950]. The victims who have come forward, who said they saw many of their classmates being abused, think he molested more than 100 boys. Murphy admitted to molesting at least 30, according to Alisa Cohen-Stein, a clinical social worker in the Chicago area who has worked with several of Murphy's victims. She said she was told of Murphy's admission by an employee of the archdiocese.

He never apologized.

Former St. John's students are now coming forth asking the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for compensation.
Two of Murphy's victims recently received $100,000 and $200,000 in compensation through an archdiocese-sponsored mediation program for sexual abuse victims.

Besides all the other reasons for these allegations to be the headline story, there's this.
Pending state legislation would allow victims of clergy sexual abuse to bring civil suits against religious organizations within a one-year window, regardless of when the abuse occurred and past statutes of limitation. In a civil court, a plaintiff could compel the religious organization to produce any documents it might have relating to the case, regardless of whether the accused clergy member is able to participate in the organization's defense.

Father Murphy left St. John's almost 40 years ago and has been dead for eight years


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