The Archdiocese of Milwaukee responded Wednesday to media reports suggesting that an archdiocesan priest, Fr. James Connell, vice chancellor of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, covered-up sexual abuse by Fr. Lawrence Murphy.
This being our Archdiocese, this did not involve a press conference, but rather
a written response issued by Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff of the former Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, now working for administrator Bishop William P. Callahan, addressed to priests, parish directors, deacons and distributed via e-mail...
Picture them in a bunker, with a map of southeastern Wisconsin on the wall; one pushpin has a photo of Peter Isely of SNAP on it.
An article in the Oct. 13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wants the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to remove Fr. James Connell ... from the abuse review board because of his investigation of sexual abuse by the late [Father Lawrence] Murphy.
While the Journal Sentinel article stated that the archdiocese said Fr. Connell documented Murphy’s offenses sometime after 1994 in an effort to remove Murphy from the priesthood, victim advocates said “(Fr.) Connell and the archdiocese failed to warn members of the deaf community of Murphy’s history, even as Murphy continued to violate church restrictions on interacting with them. And victims questioned whether (Fr.) Connell, given his failure to act, belonged on a panel intended to bring transparency to the system of vetting clergy sex abuse cases.”
The article includes our Archdiocese's response. In their isolation, the Chancery staff appears to have lost touch with reality. At one point, this is offered as a defense.
Murphy’s actions were public knowledge and reported to civil authorities as early as 1973; in newspaper articles as early as 1974; and through civil court proceedings as early as 1975.
So part of the defense now is that it was common knowledge by the early 1970s that Fr. Murphy was molesting children? This March 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report says that in a 1975 civil lawsuit, Archbishop "Cousins testified he found nothing in his investigation to substantiate any of the complaints about Murphy."