And so it begins: in the first of what will hopefully develop into a very long line of such occurrences, a federal lawsuit has been filed against Pope Ratzi and the Vatican itself on behalf of one of the victims of Rev. Lawrence Murphy, the priest who stands accused of molesting over 200 deaf boys at a suburban Milwaukee, IL school for the deaf. However, don’t get the party gear out just yet; the accusations aren’t quite as damning as you might think at first. From the Associated Press:
MILWAUKEE — A federal lawsuit alleges that Pope Benedict XVI and senior Vatican officials covered up allegations of child sexual abuse against a Wisconsin priest who is accused of molesting at least 200 deaf children from 1950 to 1975.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Milwaukee by St. Paul, Minn., attorney Jeff Anderson says the unidentified plaintiff was a student at a suburban Milwaukee school for the deaf and an alleged victim of abuse by the Rev. Lawrence Murphy.
The lawsuit says the accuser, who is from Illinois, sent two letters to the Vatican in 1995 reporting the abuse and asking for help but he received no response.
The lawsuit seeks the release of confidential Vatican files detailing clergy abuse allegations and unspecified monetary damages.
Basically, the plaintiff is alleging a cover-up in his specific case due to a lack of response from the Vatican after he’d sent a couple of letters denouncing his molestation at the filthy hands of Rev. Murphy. Now, don’t get me wrong; I certainly am not defending the Church in any way, especially if these allegations are true. The Vatican certainly ought to have responded in one way or another – preferably by investigating Murphy, and more preferably still, by throwing him out of the clergy and letting secular law enforcement deal with him from then on. I’m just saying that the fact that they failed to respond is not a clear sign of a cover-up. It’s quite possible that the letters were simply accidentally forgotten discarded. (Or, also likely, perhaps they were forgotten in the flood of such accusatory letters that I presume they must’ve been receiving at the time, particularly now that the whole affair has been blown wide open.) A failure to respond does not equate to guilt.
However, given the Church’s known history of covering-up just this sort of thing, it’s still by far the most likely scenario: the plaintiff’s letters were read and subsequently cast aside and the case covered up by the hierarchy. That is, if they were even made aware of it. (Ha, you didn’t seriously think that I’d be arguing for the Church’s innocence in this matter, right?) This lawsuit is only the first one we’ve seen so far – hell, it’s quite possibly the first time the Pope’s been legally sued in, to the best of my knowledge, ever – and we can only hope that it’s the first of many to come. It’s time to expose the Vatican as the cult of child-molester-shielding liars that they are.