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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Pope & top aide kept 150 sex allegations vs. predator secret

In 1998, they rebuffed 3 bishops who wanted pedophile ousted

Then-Ratzinger’s staff refused to act because of “fear of scandal”

Victims want pontiff to “come clean” on cases he handled in 2001-2005

US cleric molested hundreds of hearing impaired children in confession

Vatican’s #2 official is also implicated in dozens of pages of long-secret records

Holding signs and childhood photos at sidewalk news conferences, in Rome and five US cities, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- disclose dozens of pages of long-secret church records showing that the world’s top two Catholic officials insisted, for years in the 1990s, on keeping a serial US predator priest’s case secret, fearing “scandal,”
-- urge the Pope to disclose how he and his office handled pedophile priests for years earlier this decade, and
-- urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to come forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect others and start healing.

Thursday, March 25, 11:00 a.m.

In Rome, in Via della Conciliazione, the street outside the entrance to St. Peter's Square

Four US clergy sex abuse victims who are leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including the organization’s president and founder, a social worker

According to the latest New York Times story, a US pedophile priest reportedly abused between 150-200 deaf kids at a school over 24 years, often during confessions. Yet for years, a small Vatican bureaucracy headed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now the Pope) fought 3 US bishops’ efforts to oust the predator, citing a fear of scandal.

Initially, Ratzinger twice ignored letters from Wisconsin Archbishop Rembert Weakland. Later, Ratzinger’s then-top aide, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said Weakland could discipline the priest using a controversial 1962 church policy called ‘Crimens Sollicitationis’ that mandates extreme secrecy. But the predator wrote to Ratzinger, seeking mercy, and Bertone then reversed course. At a meeting in Rome with three Wisconsin bishops, Bertone discouraged them from taking any formal action against Murphy (even though the priest admitted molesting dozens of boys). In 1998, Murphy died. His crimes only came to light in 2002.

Bertone is now the Vatican Secretary of State, the second most powerful church official in the world.

As Pope, Benedict has repeatedly paid lip service to “transparency” in his advice to bishops on child sex cases. In light of this, and recent disclosures of abuse and cover up in his home diocese of Munich, SNAP wants the pontiff to publicly disclose how he handled hundreds of cases from across the globe from 2001-2005 as head of CDF, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office where all such cases are sent.

Murphy worked at St. John’s school from 1950-1974 and headed the school from the early 1960s through 1974. It’s now closed. Besides Weakland, Bishop Richard Sklba of Milwaukee and Bishop Raphael Fliss of Superior also sought Vatican action against Murphy. None acted, however, until civil lawsuits were threatened.

SNAP is holding similar news conferences today (Thursday) in five US cities (Washington DC, Chicago IL, Milwaukee WI, Superior WI, and Boulder Junction WI). For details, see

Several of Murphy's victims are represented by Minnesota attorneys Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell) and Mike Finnegan (651 227 9990, 612 205 5531 cell).

CONTACT +49-172-1676 93
Peter Isely, [email protected], 414 429 7259, from US: 0039 3388970386
Barbara Blaine, [email protected] 312 399 4747
Barbara Dorris, [email protected], 314 503 0003
John Pilmaier, [email protected], 414 336 8575
David Clohessy, [email protected], 314 566 9790

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests