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Archbishop: Mistakes made in priest sex abuse case

March 31, 2010 Comments off
By the CNN Wire Staff
March 31, 2010
The Vatican is under fire for not disciplining Lawrence Murphy after allegations of sexual abuse.

The Vatican is under fire for not disciplining Lawrence Murphy after allegations of sexual abuse.
 
(CNN) — The archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, apologized repeatedly Tuesday night for the way his archdiocese handled an abusive priest and he defended the Vatican which has come under fire for not disciplining or defrocking the man.

“Mistakes were made in the Lawrence Murphy case,” said Archbishop Jerome Listecki at the end of a special holy week mass at St. John’s Cathedral in Milwaukee.

“The mistakes were not made in Rome in 1996, 1997 and 1998. The mistakes were made here, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, by the Church, by civil authorities, by Church officials, and by bishops. And for that, I beg your forgiveness in the name of the Church and in the name of this Archdiocese of Milwaukee.”

The now-deceased Murphy is believed to have molested up to 200 boys.

The Vatican says it did not know about the abuse until 20 years after civil authorities investigated and later dropped the case.

However, a recent New York Times story alleged that top Vatican officials, including the future Pope Benedict XVI, failed to act despite warnings from several American bishops.

Jeff Anderson, a lawyer who obtained internal church paperwork, said it “shows a direct line from the victims through the bishops and directly to the man who is now pope.”

In his comments Tuesday night, Listecki attempted to shift the blame away from the Pope.

“The Holy Father does not need me to defend him or his decisions,” he said. “I believe, and history will confirm, that his actions in responding to this crisis swiftly and decisively and his compassionate response to victims (and) survivors speak for themselves.”

Listecki added that measures have now been put in place in his diocese and across the country to protect children from predatory priests.

“Still, we know it is not words, but actions that will demonstrate our resolve,” he said. “And, in some ways, regardless of what I say tonight or any other time, our critics will say it is not enough.

“But that cannot and will not prevent me from making every possible effort at moving forward toward healing and resolution with those who have been harmed, and determined to make sure nothing like this can ever happen again.”

The apologies are little consolation to many of the victims, three of whom shared their stories on “Larry King Live” Tuesday night.

“These priests have been allowed to abuse children for years. And with the man who is now the pope knowing about what Father Murphy alone was doing, and not doing anything about it? He needs to resign. He has no business being in the position he is in,” said Donald Marshall, who said he was abused once during one of Murphy’s regular visits to the Lincoln Hills School, a juvenile detention center in Irma in northern Wisconsin.

Most of the alleged abuse took place at the John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis where Murphy began as a teacher in 1950.

He was promoted to run the school in 1963 in spite of the fact that students had warned church officials of molestation, according to documents that CNN has seen.

Gary Smith said his abuse began when he was 12 and continued up until he was 20, about 50 or 60 times.

“He was scared. He didn’t know if he should tell anyone,” said Gigi Budzinski, who interpreted for Smith during his appearance on King’s show.

“He felt like Murphy was so powerful that he couldn’t do anything,” she said.

Local coverage from CNN affiliate WISN

Still, Smith and two other classmates eventually reported Murphy to the Milwaukee police.

“They did nothing,” said Arthur Budzinski, who said he was abused three times.

Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told of the abuse, but none reported it to criminal or civil authorities, said Anderson, who is representing five men who are suing the archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, however, said that abuse was reported in fall 1973 to Milwaukee police, who turned the report over to St. Francis police, but no charges were filed.

Murphy was removed in May 1974 as director of the St. John’s School for the Deaf, but remained as fundraiser and alumni director until summer 1974, when he was removed from any role at the school, according to a chronology posted on the archdiocese Web site.

In August 1974, a series of newspaper articles in the Milwaukee Sentinel reported on Murphy’s removal and the allegations, the chronology said.

A district attorney reviewed the allegations against Murphy in fall 1974. A civil lawsuit was filed in 1975 against the archdiocese relating to Murphy, but was resolved the following year, the chronology said.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who would later become pope, “was not informed of the matter until some 20 years later,” said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.

The office is in charge of deciding whether accused priests should be given canonical trials and defrocked.

But as part of his lawsuit, Anderson obtained correspondence from Milwaukee to Ratzinger and other internal church documents.

The documents, dating back to 1974, include letters between bishops and the Vatican, victims’ affidavits, the handwritten notes of an expert on sexual disorders who interviewed Murphy and minutes of a final Vatican meeting on the case.

Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case in 1996 from Milwaukee’s then-archbishop, Rembert G. Weakland.

After eight months, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who at the time was second-in-command of the doctrinal office and now is the Vatican’s secretary of state, told Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial, the documents show.

By that time, Murphy was in poor health, living in seclusion and had not had any allegations of abuse levied against him for more than 20 years, the Milwaukee archbishop said.

The Congregation suggested that the archbishop restrict Murphy’s public ministry and require him to accept full responsibility for his acts.

Murphy died four months later.

“Even though some do not want to hear it or accept it as truth, mistakes were made by law enforcement, medical professionals — even reporters who helped bring initial stories to light and grappled with how to deal with perpetrators,” Listecki said Tuesday night. “We have all learned so much.”

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/03/31/wisconsin.church.abuse/index.html?hpt=T2

Larry King Live interviewed with Deaf victims

March 31, 2010 3 comments

Written by Bug

Larry King Live interviewed with Deaf victims yesterday on TV about the Deaf Sex Abuse at  St. John’s School for the Deaf in St Francis, Wisconsin. Father Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked there from 1950 to 1974, starting as a teacher and rising to director, allegedly molested scores of pupils, preying on his victims in their dormitories and on class trips. A priest molested up to 200 Deaf boys and he avoided justice until he died in 1998.  Even though Pope Benedict XVI knew about the abuse but he ignored pleas to stop the priest who molested the Deaf boys. St. John’s Deaf school is no longer there since 1983.  

Here’s Larry Live’s transcripts:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, will the latest Catholic sex scandal bring down the Pope? Victims reveal right here. What a priest allegedly did to them as children decades ago. They claim that conspiracy and cover-up kept the abuse of as many 200 boys quiet until now.

Three men who say they were sexually abused as children by Catholic priests tell their story all these years later, hoping someone is going to listen to them now. That’s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: By the way, on that Massachusetts story we just talked about, Alina Cho will follow it up in detail tomorrow morning on CNN’s “AMERICAN MORNING.”

The Catholic Church is reeling over the latest sex scandal. A priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, is believed to have sexually abused as many as 200 boys in Wisconsin decades ago.

Father Murphy, by the way, died in 1998.

Arthur Budzinski alleges that he was molested by Father Murphy while a student at St. John’s School for the Deaf. Gigi Budzinski, Arthur’s daughter, will serve as his interpreter.

Gary Smith says that he too was sexually molested by Father Murphy.

Arthur, when did this — when did this start? How old were you?

GIGI BUDZINSKI, FATHER SAYS HE WAS MOLESTED BY FATHER MURPHY: I was 12 years old when Father Murphy molested me.

KING: How did it happen to start with?

BUDZINSKI: I asked to make a confession, and Father Murphy asked me to go into a closet, and then he molested me in the closet. I was shocked.

KING: Did he — did Arthur understand what was going on?

BUDZINSKI: He knew he was wrong. And he was sweating. He was upset.

KING: Why didn’t Arthur report it?

BUDZINSKI: He did tell — he did talk to another priest. Because they would switch over once like for a week, and he told Father Walsh. He had a confession with Father Walsh, and he told him that Murphy molested him. Because he didn’t want to talk to his parents. He was embarrassed. He thought he should talk to a priest who would talk to another priest.

KING: What did Father Walsh say? BUDZINSKI: He waited until Murphy came back, and then — I saw Father Walsh talk to Murphy in the hallway, and I knew immediately that they were talking about me. I walked and I peek around the corner.

And he saw them arguing with each other. And then they noticed me peeking around the corner, and they went down around the corner to the library.

KING: Did it happen many times?

BUDZINSKI: It happened three times to me.

KING: All at age 12?

BUDZINSKI: When I was 12, 13, and 14.

KING: And Gary Smith, you were in the school at the same time with Arthur?

BUDZINSKI: At the same time. I became Catholic when I was 10 years old, and then when I was 12, Father Murphy molested me. And I was shocked about that. And it was also when I was in — I would make a confession in his office.

He’d take me up north, and on a senior trip, and he went to New York. And the last time he went to Minnesota, for the senior trip, and he was molested then. Fifty to 60 times. The last time was when he was 20 years old.

KING: Did he report it at all?

BUDZINSKI: No. He was scared. He didn’t know if he should tell anyone. He — felt like Murphy was so powerful that he couldn’t do anything.

KING: Why now?

BUDZINSKI: He wants to protect other people from it happening to other people and helping them come forward.

KING: So all these years, both of these men have held this in?

BUDZINSKI: In 1972, he got really angry, and then another classmate of theirs, Robert Bolger, and Arthur Budzinski, they went to the Milwaukee Police Department.

KING: Were charges filed?

BUDZINSKI: No. Nothing happened.

KING: We’ll ask our guests what they would do to authorities now. What they would tell the Pope if they had the chance to meet with him, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Arthur Budzinski, did the police do anything?

BUDZINSKI: No, they did nothing. There was a statute of limitations at that time. So they couldn’t for him. But right now what they — what Wisconsin needs to do is remove the statute of limitations on child sex abuse.

KING: It still exists, of course?

BUDZINSKI: Yes. You have until you’re the age of 35 to come forward, and that’s all. And when — at that time, you’re only allowed six years.

KING: Gary, are you surprised that all of this was going on?

BUDZINSKI: Yes. It’s about time that people start to know about this.

KING: We’re joined in Milwaukee by Donald Marshall, who alleges he was sexually abused by Father Murphy while a resident at juvenile detention center. The alleged molestation occurred after Murphy had left St. John’s School for the Deaf.

How old were you when it happened, Donald?

DONALD MARSHALL, SAYS HE WAS MOLESTED BY FATHER MURPHY: Thirteen.

KING: What was the — tell us what occurred.

MARSHALL: I was at Lincoln Hills School for Boys in Irma, Wisconsin. Father Murphy would come into the institution about three or four times a week to talk with kids. That’s how I first met him.

I ended up getting myself into trouble, and I ended up in the security cottage. Father Murphy found out and he came to visit me. He was locked in my cell with me. First it started out with just reading the bible.

And then he moved over, put his hand on my knee. I just — you know I just thought of it as, you know, a friendly gesture. I didn’t think anything of it. Then he leaned over and started kissing and fondling me.

I don’t know — it went on for a few minutes. I don’t know how I — I got him to back off somehow. I don’t even know how. A few minutes later, he left my cell.

I, for one — I did immediately report it to one of the security officers who —

KING: What did they do?

MARSHALL: Well, he took me to — well, he left for a minutes and went and made a phone call. He then took me up to the superintendent’s office. I told my story to the superintendent. He said he would get back to me in a day or two. I was brought back to his office the next day.

I was told that he reported Father Murphy. At that time he was told that Father Murphy had been accused of doing this several different times before. He said that he didn’t know what they were going to do on their end. But as far as he was concerned, Father Murphy would never be allowed in the institution again.

After that I had never seen Father Murphy again.

KING: Wow. What — what, Arthur, would you say to the Pope?

MARSHALL: You know —

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Hold on, Don. Then you.

MARSHALL: I’m sorry.

BUDZINSKI: I think the Pope should resign. He needs — somebody needs to clean up the church.

KING: You don’t think he has done enough?

BUDZINSKI: That’s right. He hasn’t done enough.

KING: What about Gary?

BUDZINSKI: He forgave Father Murphy. He didn’t take him — they set up a trial and —

KING: This is when he was a bishop, right?

BUDZINSKI: When he was — yes, when he was still a priest.

KING: A priest.

BUDZINSKI: Yes. And they set up a trial, and then Father Murphy wrote a letter. He was sick. And they dropped the trial.

KING: Gary, what do you think the Pope should do?

BUDZINSKI: He should resign. He should be like his brother. His brother told the truth about how he was abusing children, his older brother. But the Pope still denies that he knew anything.

KING: Donald, what do you think? What should the church do?

MARSHALL: The church — there is nothing the church can do. You know they can’t clean up what they’ve allowed to happen for decades. These priests have been allowed to abuse children for years.

And with the man who is now the Pope knowing about what Father Murphy alone was doing and not doing anything about it, he needs to resign. He has no business being in the position he is in.

KING: We will have a major panel discussion on all of this. We thank our guests for being with us.

Note: click this link to read Larry King’s more interviews before and after Deaf victims http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1003/30/lkl.01.html

Deaf Men Confront Italian Church

March 27, 2010 1 comment
 They said they suffered sexual abuse. On TV, they refused to shake a diocese official’s hand.
German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, appears with Pope John Paul II (right) at a 2002 Mass in St. Peter´s Basilica.
PIER PAOLO CITO / AP, File
German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, appears with Pope John Paul II (right) at a 2002 Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
 

By Nicole Winfield

Associated Press 

ROME – Three deaf men who say they were repeatedly sodomized and abused by priests as children confronted the church diocese yesterday about why it had not punished their abusers, saying they wanted justice.

The three men, first interviewed last year by the Associated Press, appeared on a prime-time talk show on Italy’s state-run RAI television, squaring off with the spokesman of the Verona Diocese amid a global sex-abuse scandal that has inched closer to Pope Benedict XVI.

The former students have not gone to the police because the 10-year statute of limitations expired. They have asked the priests in question to waive the statute of limitations so a case can be opened.

Their stories have found new relevance after revelations that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – then led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now pope – told Wisconsin bishops in 1998 to shut down a church trial for an elderly priest who allegedly molested 200 deaf boys.

The Wisconsin and Italy cases are similar in that they both involve the purported abuse of deaf children, particularly vulnerable victims since the admonition “never tell” is easily enforced as many have speech impairments.

The spokesman of the Verona Diocese, the Rev. Bruno Fasani, said that he hoped yesterday’s confrontation would be constructive and that he welcomed meeting the men. But the former students of Verona’s Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf refused to shake his hand.

One of the three, Dario Laiti, 59, said he could not bring himself to greet the prelate.

“It’s a problem of justice,” said Laiti, who has said he was sodomized repeatedly at the boarding school from the age of 7.

“We want justice for everything we went through, the suffering for all of our life,” said Gianni Bisoli, 61, another former student who says he was sodomized by and forced to perform oral sex on a dozen priests at the institute.

Bisoli, Laiti, and 65 other former pupils signed a statement last year saying sexual abuse, pedophilia, and corporal punishment occurred at the school from the 1950s to the 1980s.

While not all acknowledged being victims, 14 of the 67 wrote statements and made videotapes, detailing abuse they suffered at the hands of priests and brothers of the Congregation for the Company of Mary. They named 24 priests, brothers, and lay religious men. Bisoli also accused the late bishop of Verona of assaulting him.

The current bishop of Verona, Msgr. Giuseppe Zenti, initially accused the former students of lying and trying to blackmail him because they were involved in a real estate dispute with the diocese. However, after one of the accused lay religious men admitted to sexual relations with students, the bishop ordered an internal investigation. It found some abuse occurred, albeit a fraction of what had been alleged.

Advocates for the victims said the diocese investigation was fatally flawed because no one interviewed the former students.

Fasani insisted yesterday that the diocese had no solid complaint with a named victim to go on from the former students. And he read what he said was a spontaneous declaration from one of the original student signatories saying he was pressured to sign the document alleging abuse.

The students’ spokesman, Marco Lodi Rizzini, did not address the pressure accusation. But he disputed that the diocese did not know who they were. He said he personally had met twice with the bishop and other diocesan officials, had sent them letters, and that 53 former students had complained to the diocese of alleged abuse.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20100327_Deaf_men_confront_Italian_church.html

Priest accused of Molesting 200 Deaf Boys

March 26, 2010 2 comments

 Wis. priest accused of molesting 200 deaf boys

This 1974 photo shows Rev.  Lawrence Murphy. The Vatican on Thursday March 25, 2010 strongly defended its decision not to defrock Murphy, an American
 AP – This 1974 photo shows Rev. Lawrence Murphy. The Vatican on Thursday March 25, 2010 strongly defended …

By DINESH RAMDE and GRETCHEN EHLKE, Associated Press Writers Dinesh Ramde And Gretchen Ehlke, Associated Press Writers

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, Carrie Antlfinger in Milwaukee and Nicole Winfield in Vatican City contributed to this report.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100325/ap_on_re_us/church_abuse_wisconsin

Invented the American Football Huddle By Deaf Football Player

February 7, 2010 2 comments

The Gallaudet Football Huddle ( http://archives.gallaudet.edu/Football.htm )

By Bug

About 100 million Americans will watch Super Bowl XLIV today. New Orelans Saints vs Indianapolis Colt will play in Miami, Florida. The kick-off time will approximately at 6:28pm on the east coast; 5:28pm central, 4:28pm mountain, and 3:28pm pacific.

How many people in the world know the history of American football huddle? Who invented the huddle? About 85 percent of people don’t know that Deaf player at Gallaudet University invented the American football huddle in 1894.

Who invented it? How did the football huddle start? Paul Hubbard the quarterback player at Gallaudet University realized that his sign language (hand signal) could be read by opposing players so he had to pull his players into a circle so that his sign language could be shown without anyone on the sidelines or on the opposing team seeing.

Many years before the first huddle, many Deaf football players used sign language to signal to each other as they played until Paul Huddbard got fed up of the other team watching and guessing their plays so he invented the huddle. Then they exchanged the secrets through sign language inside the huddle.

Today every football team uses this type of huddle as it is still in common use today, typically between plays in American football as the quarterback assigns the next play to the offense.

Here’s an interesting story about the football at Gallaudet Unviersity:

http://www.fredbowen.com/c100600.htm

Also, see old Gallaudet photos of Deaf football team:

http://archives.gallaudet.edu/Football.htm

Categories: Deaf History, Sports
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