A victim of molestation perpetrated by Father Lawrence C. Murphy recounted his abuse Thursday in a news conference outside the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
SNAP, The Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, called the news conference in the wake of revelations that top Vatican officials, including the future Pope Benedict XVI, did not defrock Murphy, despite warnings about him.
"The pope knew about this. He's the one who knew about this," Arthur Budzinski said. "He should be held accountable. I believe somebody should be punished."
The New York Times reported Thursday that documents unlocked as part of a lawsuit show that top Vatican officials, including Benedict, didn't defrock Murphy, despite many warnings by bishops.
The case involving Murphy, who is believed to have molested as many as 200 boys at St. John's School for the Deaf between 1950 and 1974, is one of thousands of cases that have been forwarded by bishops to the Vatican.
Budzinski, whose sign language was spoken by his daughter GiGi, said Murphy would come into their dorm at night, take them into a closet and molest them. Budzinski, who detailed abuse at the hands of Murphy to the Journal Sentinel in 2006, said he told Archbishop William E. Cousins and other officials about the abuse in 1974 when he was 26. The archbishop yelled at Budzinski, he said. He left the meeting crying.
Documents show that two Wisconsin bishops urged the Vatican office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to let them conduct a church trial against Murphy, but the Vatican ordered the process halted.
Ratzinger led the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 to 2005, according to the New York Times.
"During the mid-1970s, some of Father Murphy's victims reported his abuse to civil authorities, who investigated him at that time; however, according to news reports, that investigation was dropped," said Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi. "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was not informed of the matter until some 20 years later."
Lawsuits have alleged that the archdiocese knew of the abuse claims as early as the 1950s. The Journal Sentinel reported in 2002 that Archbishop William E. Cousins moved Murphy in 1974 to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin. Murphy also was allowed to teach Sunday school and preside at Masses for the deaf for about 20 years at three northern Wisconsin parishes.
Murphy died in 1998, having never been defrocked.
"We're finally able to get it where we believe it belongs, and that's at the Vatican doorstep," said Mark Salmon, who was abused by a layman teacher at St. John de Nepomuc on Milwaukee's south side.