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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Vatican rejects lawsuit service

Vatican sends back Fr. Murphy lawsuit (he abused 200+ deaf kids)

Deaf victims of St. John's appealing to Listecki to intervene with Pope in Federal lawsuit

Vatican refusing to cooperate with Federal court in Milwaukee in Murphy case

Judge's summons to Pope and two top Vatican officials sent back as "unwanted and undesirable"

In a stunning move, Vatican officials are refusing to be served with a child sex abuse lawsuit, returning it with the words "unwanted and undesired."

In response, at a news conference clergy child sex abuse victims, including victims of Fr. Lawrence Murphy while at St. John's School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wis., will blast the Catholic hierarchy for:
· rebuffing the US justice system,
· continuing to ignore the appeal for healing from 200+ deaf victims sexually molested at a Milwaukee school, and
· delaying the "long overdue disclosure" of secret church records about the cover up of clergy sex crimes by a long-time Wisconsin predator priest

In addition, they will attempt to hand deliver a letter to Milwaukee's archbishop Jerome Listecki urging him to "show courage, challenge the Vatican, and advocate for these still-suffering Wisconsin crime victims."

Monday, January 31, 1:30 p.m.

Outside the Cousins Center, which is the headquarters of the Milwaukee archdiocese, 3501 South Lake Drive

Several victims of clergy child sex crimes, including deaf victims of Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who belong to the international support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,

After initially accepting a summons from the US federal court in Milwaukee concerning a civil suit involving top Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy See returned it late Friday by FEDEX to the United States, with the marking: "Undesirable and Unwanted". The lawsuit concerns the decades long cover up of serial child molester Fr. Lawrence Murphy from the archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The federal lawsuit, which was filed last March, and was the first of its kind, directly names Cardinal Ratzinger and two Vatican secretaries of state, in covering up the child sex crimes against hundreds of deaf children by Murphy as director of St. John's School for the Deaf in Franklin, Wisconsin. Murphy died in 1998.

Previously secret church records from Milwaukee show that every Milwaukee archbishop since at least 1958 knew Murphy was sexually assaulting children at the boarding school.

By 1976, according to the records, Vatican officials became involved in the Murphy case. At that time, Murphy was transferred from Milwaukee to a parish in northern Wisconsin, where he remained for several decades, unreported and unsupervised, working with children and families, as well as with the deaf community. At least one lawsuit has been filed by a victim of Murphy in his assignments after Milwaukee.

In the mid 1990's the Vatican again became involved with Murphy, this time through the office of the powerful Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), at that time headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. In 1997, Ratzinger's office ruled that Murphy would not have to face a church trial in Milwaukee and could remain a priest in good standing until his death. He was never turned over to civil authorities.

Two recently released letters show Vatican officials instructing local bishops against providing records about pedophile priests to judicial authorities in Ireland in the 1990's and the United States in the 1980's. Last year, a letter surfaced from the Vatican secretary of state to a French bishop congratulating him on behalf of Pope John Paul II for not turning a pedophile priest over to police. John Paul, who died in 2005, is being presented for official sainthood by Pope Benedict in May.

Although Vatican officials say they now cooperate with criminal and civil laws around the globe, Friday's rejection of the summons by the Federal Court in Milwaukee demonstrates that they still consider themselves "above the law" and is reminiscent of its response to formal inquiries in 2006 from Irish government authorities that were investigating widespread child abuse by clerics in Ireland.

NB: Attorneys for the victim in the Milwaukee federal suit, along with the nation's leading constitutional expert on these cases, Professor Marcie Hamilton, will hold an 11:00 a.m. CST press conference in St. Paul, MN and streamed live at Questions can be submitted one hour in advance. Contact Atty. Jeff Anderson at 612.817.866 (mobile) 651.297.6543 (office).

John Doe 16 v. Holy See, Joseph Ratzinger, Tarcisio Bertone and Angelo Sodano is available at:

Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259
John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director, 414.336.8575
Mike Sneesby, SNAP Milwaukee Co-Director, 414.915.4374


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests