Deaf Catholic Sex Abuse Victim Sues Pope

Father Lawrence C. Murphy

Father Lawrence C. Murphy

Why did he wait 50 years though? From CNN:

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin – Terry Kohut has kept a dark secret for nearly 50 years. Now he is breaking his silence, becoming a key figure in the sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and the growing controversy over what Pope Benedict XVI did about it.

When Kohut was barely a teen, and for years afterward, he says, he was sexually molested and assaulted by the headmaster and priest of the school where he lived, St. John’s School for the Deaf, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What occurred there is one of the most notorious cases of sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Kohut was not alone. From 1950 to 1974 the headmaster of St. Johns, Father Lawrence C. Murphy, raped and molested as many as 200 deaf boys, according to court and church documents.

Kohut has now filed the first sex-abuse lawsuit against the Vatican actually naming Pope Benedict, previously known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as a defendant.

Ratzinger was once head of the Vatican’s powerful CDF, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, charged in certain circumstances with investigating the sexual abuse of minors by priests. And though church records show the abuse by Father Murphy was brought to the attention of Ratzinger and the CDF years ago, a church trial against the headmaster was stopped and he was allowed to remain a priest.

The Vatican’s “policy of secrecy” in abuse cases, and its “directives to conceal the sexual abuse of children” by priests, the lawsuit says, helped bring about the abuse of Kohut and others by Father Murphy.

Kohut has never before gone public or spoken about what Father Murphy did to him. He has remained anonymous in the suit, listed only as “John Doe 16,” one of dozens of men alleging abuse.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Kohut, 60, spoke with his hands and through a deaf interpreter, describing how the abuse by Father Murphy started.

“I went into his office, the door was closed,” he said. “And Father Murphy said, ‘Take your pants down. And so I did… you know, he was always in his black attire with a white collar, and you know … I was questioning why he would ask me to do that. Here he is, a priest, and – I have to obey him. And he proceeded to touch me.”…

[continues at CNN]

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  • Vox Penii

    >Why did he wait 50 years though?

    probably because sexual abuse messes with the human brain in a way that’s difficult to understand and appreciate unless it’s happened to you.

    Lisak, D. (1994). The psychological impact of sexual abuse: Content analysis of interviews with male survivors [warning, 2 megabyte PDF]. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 525-548.

    ABSTRACT: Autobiographical interviews with 26 adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and content analyzed to identify common psychological themes. Approximately equal numbers of men were abused by male and female perpetrators, almost half came from disrupted or violent homes and a majority had a history of substance abuse. Fifteen psychological themes were identified: Anger, Betrayal, Fear, Homosexuality Issues, Helplessness, Isolation and Alienation, Legitimacy, Loss, Masculinity Issues, Negative Childhood Peer Relations, Negative Schemas about People, Negative Schemas about the Self, Problems with Sexuality, Self Blame/Guilt and Shame/Humiliation. The themes are discussed and illustrated with examples drawn from the transcripts

    http://www.jimhopper.com/pdfs/Lisak_%281994%29_Male_Survivor_Interviews.pdf

  • William Xavier McGarley

    God, that photo is creepy. Makes you wonder what the phone conversation was about.

    “Yes, I’d like to place an order . . . Uh-huh. Two of them, please. . . Yes, under twelve if possible . . . No, I’m not really particular, blonde, brown-haired, black-haired, whatever. OH–they MUST be male, however. Thank you, Your Grace.”

    Ick.

  • William Xavier McGarley

    God, that photo is creepy. Makes you wonder what the phone conversation was about.

    “Yes, I’d like to place an order . . . Uh-huh. Two of them, please. . . Yes, under twelve if possible . . . No, I’m not really particular, blonde, brown-haired, black-haired, whatever. OH–they MUST be male, however. Thank you, Your Grace.”

    Ick.