The Vatican is defending its refusal to defrock a late Wisconsin priest who molested up to 200 deaf boys for 20 years ending in the mid 1970’s. Court records revealed that two Wisconsin bishops had asked the Vatican for permission to hold a church trial against Father Lawrence Murphy. But Murphy appealed to a cardinal, who’s now Pope Benedict, and his top assistant called off the trial, saying Murphy was too old and frail.
On Thursday, advocates for priest abuse victims held news conferences in Milwaukee and Rome. They said the case was a sign of an institutional cover-up of sex abuses that went on for decades.
But the Vatican said it learned of the allegations against Murphy 20 years after they took place and there was nothing to stop local church officials from calling the police. The Vatican’s statement also accused its critics of waging a smear attempt against Pope Benedict and his top aides.
In Milwaukee, Arthur Budzinski, one of Murphy’s victims, said the pope knew about the case, and he should be held accountable. Budzinski’s daughter wants justice served.
Gigi Budzinski (:18)
The Milwaukee Archdiocese apologized for Murphy’s crimes. The church said former Archbishop Rembert Weakland asked to defrock Murphy two decades after learning of the offenses because Murphy had violated restrictions on his ministry.