Reports of Abuse Ignored for Decades

For years, a group of deaf men tried to report the abuse they suffered as children at the hands of the Reverend Lawrence C. Murphy to anyone they could find—from priests to archbishops to police to the district attorney—only to be ignored. The men say they were sexually abused at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin in the mid-1950s, long before the Catholic Church’s sordid history of abuse was dragged into the public eye. Father Murphy is believed to have molested as many as 200 boys between 1950 and 1974. “First thing in the morning,” one of Father Murphy’s victims said, “we took communion, and as he passed out the communion wafers, I thought about how many boys did he touch with those hands and all of the germs, all of the filth of his hands.” A top cardinal has called for “housecleaning” in the Roman Catholic Church, but has defended the pope, calling attacks against Pope Benedict XVI “beyond any limit of justice and loyalty.”