Priest Cleared of Abuse Charges: the Rev. Murphy Will Return to St. Francis Xavier Church in Weymouth
By Dennis Tatz
The Patriot Ledger [Weymouth MA]
April 12, 2006
The Rev. Charles J. Murphy is returning to St. Francis Xavier Church in Weymouth now that the archdiocese has cleared him of sexual abuse charges.
NNIt was a nightmare for him,'' Boston attorney Timothy O'Neill, who represented the Rev. Murphy in a lawsuit, said yesterday. NNHe has had tremendous support from the community. There was no credibility (in the charges) whatsoever. He's a good man.''
In August 2004, the Rev. Murphy, then 70, was placed on administrative leave following allegations that he molested a young girl years ago while serving as director of counseling at the former Boston School for the Deaf in Randolph.
The Archdiocesan Review Board investigating the alleged incidents recently determined they lacked validity.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley yesterday lifted all restrictions on the Rev. Murphy effective immediately, paving the way for the priest to resume duties at his Weymouth church.
In making the announcement, Cardinal O'Malley stated that he remained committed to having safe environments in churches and schools and providing support to those who have suffered sexual abuse from the clergy.
The Rev. Murphy was named in a civil suit that included another priest and 13 nuns who allegedly abused 18 students physically and sexually or were in positions to stop the abuse at the Boston School for the Deaf between 1944 and 1977.
The school, which was established in Jamaica Plain in 1899, moved to Randolph five years later. Run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, it closed for financial reasons and was sold for $4.5 million in 1998 to the Boston Higashi School, which cares for autistic youngsters.
All the abuse claims were later either withdrawn or dismissed after a court decision.
Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who represented the plaintiffs, said Superior Court Judge Margot Botsford ruled that the charges weren't within the statute of limitations and she wasn't going to allow key testimony of NNpattern and practice'' witnesses, who could have described the patterns of alleged abusive behavior.
Garabedian said yesterday that the case was lost on a technicality and the Rockland woman who accused the Rev. Murphy of fondling her wasn't backing down from her claims.
NNMy client is extremely upset that Father Murphy is being returned to the ministry,'' Garabedian said.
At the same time, John Creed of Kingston, a former priest who first met the Rev. Murphy in 1967 when both were assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Revere, said he knew all along that the sexual abuse charges were groundless and he wasn't surprised by the findings.
NNIt's fabulous news,'' Creed said. NNI had no doubt that he was right all the way.''
The Rev. Murphy, who is hearing-impaired, was director of counseling at the Boston School for the Deaf for nearly 20 years.
Before his suspension, he was also apostolate for the deaf in the St. Francis Xavier parish and part-time chaplain at the Norfolk State Prison.
Ordained in 1960, the Rev. Murphy, a Cambridge native, had served at St. Agatha's Church in Milton before taking the post at the Boston School for the Deaf in the early 1970s.
The defendants' attorneys in the Boston School for the Deaf cases had portrayed Garabedian's clients as opportunists trying to cash in on publicity surrounding the $85 million paid in 2003 by the archdiocese to victims of clergy sexual abuse.
Dennis Tatz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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