Deaf Students Warned of Priest's Abuse for Decades

Victims' complaints ignored by nuns, priests, and police

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 27, 2010 10:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – The deaf students who were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest in Wisconsin began reporting the abuse as long ago as the 1950s. They were ignored by everyone they told—nuns, other priests, archbishops, and police, reports the New York Times. No serious action was ever taken against Father Lawrence Murphy, who may have molested 200 students from 1950 to 1974.

“That man should have been in prison for a very long time, but he was lucky,” one victim tells the Times. "What gave him the right to be able to do that? Father Murphy constantly thought about sex with children, and he got away with it.” The case has drawn attention since it was revealed that Pope Benedict, then a cardinal, received letters from the diocese about Murphy in 1996 but did nothing to discipline him.

In this undated photo, Father Lawrence Murphy is at far right during a church service.
In this undated photo, Father Lawrence Murphy is at far right during a church service.   (AP Photo/Budzinski Family Photo)
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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. - Laurie Goodstein and David Callender, New York Times

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