Catholic League president William Donohue today addressed references in the report issued on the Boston Archdiocese by Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly regarding Rockville Centre Bishop William F. Murphy:

“Some New Yorkers are ganging up on Bishop Murphy.  There is almost nothing said about him in the report—it totals less than two pages—and what is said is hardly incriminating.  ‘During his eight-year tenure as second-in-command, Bishop Murphy supervised the response to many sexual abuse cases,’ the report says.  It then mentions the infamous ex-priest John Geoghan as well as four others.  The operative word in the quote from the report is ‘supervised.’  Curiously, the report does not say what Murphy’s role was in supervising people like Geoghan.

“For the record, Bishop Murphy had absolutely no role in vetting allegations against priests charged with sexual molestation.  Nor was he ever involved in moving such priests to another parish.  What he did do was to pressure Geoghan to resign from ministry.  When Geoghan refused, Murphy removed him against his will.  Murphy then worked with Cardinal Law to get Geoghan thrown out of the priesthood.  But no one would ever know this by reading the report.

“Bishop Murphy is also cited for allowing settlements to proceed that contained provisions for confidentiality and for not contacting law enforcement authorities, save for one occasion.  But I hasten to add that such settlements were entirely voluntary—this is what the victim and his family wanted.  In short, no one put a gun to the head of these victims—they wanted the money and they walked away.

“In any rate, up until very recently, no member of the clergy—from any religion—has ever been required in Massachusetts to report sex crimes to the police.  Does anyone really believe that Catholic priests have acted in a manner different from ministers or rabbis?  How about a report on other clergymen?  Let’s get the public school teachers as well.  How about journalists….”

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