US Priest 'molested 200 deaf boys'

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Pastor Dale Morgan

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Mar 25, 2010, 3:05:04 AM3/25/10
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US Priest 'molested 200 deaf boys'


    * From correspondents in Washington
    * From: AFP
    * March 25, 2010 3:51PM


FRESH paedophilia cover-up claims hit Pope Benedict XVI in the case of a US priest who allegedly molested up to 200 deaf boys, according to church files obtained by The New York Times.

The documents, which emerged as part of a lawsuit surrounding a school for deaf children in the US state of Wisconsin, show direct correspondence from the accused priest to the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1996, the Times said.

A trial against Reverend Lawrence C. Murphy was halted after he wrote to Ratzinger directly to protest possible punishment for the abuse, the Times said.

"I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood," Murphy wrote to the future pope, according to files. "I ask your kind assistance in this matter."

The documents contain no response from Ratzinger, and Murphy died two years later still a priest, the newspaper said.


Murphy worked at the school from 1950 to 1974.

The case involves four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, brought by five men whose lawyers handed the long-secret church documents to the newspaper.

The case comes to light amid a scandal over long-running sex abuse involving Catholic clergy in several other countries, including Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The scandals have been inching closer to the pope himself.

In a case in his native Germany, the Munich and Freising diocese said recently that he, while archbishop there, approved in 1980 giving church housing to a priest suspected of child sex abuse while he received "therapy."

The pope has apologized for the Irish priests' sexual abuse in a letter but victims maintain the move did not go far enough to address the growing scandal.

The Wisconsin church documents, the Times said, show that three successive archbishops in the state were informed Murphy was sexually abusing children but that the incidents were never reported to authorities, either criminal or civil.

The newspaper quoted Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi describing the case as "tragic" and saying that Murphy violated "particularly vulnerable" children, but also noting the late notification of the Vatican in 1996, and that years earlier authorities had already investigated and dismissed the case.
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