Lewis Brother Admits Past, Steps down
Ministry Director Cites Inappropriate Behavior with Minors
By Ted Slowik
The Herald News
April 12, 2002
ROMEOVILLE — A member of a religious order at Lewis University has stepped forward and acknowledged he engaged in inappropriate behavior with minors more than 15 years ago.
Brother Robert Murphy, 51, a member of the Carmelite order, was director of university ministry until Friday, when he told university officials about his past and began a personal leave of absence. He will not return to work at Lewis, according to a statement issued Thursday by the university.
"There have been no reports or evidence whatsoever of any inappropriate behavior in his work with college students or anyone else during his time at the university," the statement read.
Murphy was removed from his ministry by the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, which is based in nearby Darien. The religious order operates several schools, parishes and spiritual centers in the United States, Canada and Lima, Peru.
The inappropriate behavior with minors occurred in 1973 and again in 1985. Murphy underwent professional treatment following both incidents, the university said.
Murphy taught English and history at Mount Carmel High School, an all-boys academy in Chicago, from 1974 to 1985, said Sal Lema, the Carmelite's director of communications.
"The first four years of treatment were considered full-time, four days a week. Intense is the description," Lema said.
Murphy will not be reassigned to any public ministry but will remain a member of the Carmelite order, Lema said.
"He will continue to receive professional treatment as necessary," Lema said.
In its statement, the university said officials there were unaware of the incidents until Murphy's disclosure last week. Murphy joined the Lewis ministry staff in 1987.
"(He) has served with distinction and great effectiveness since then in a variety of responsibilities," the university's statement read.
Lewis University was founded in 1932 by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. The campus ministry is based at the main campus in Romeoville and sponsors retreats, liturgies and other events that seek to "promote and sustain the religious and spiritual values of the entire Lewis University community," according to the university's Web site.
Other than being a Catholic university, Lewis is not directly affiliated with the Diocese of Joliet, which is facing court action and calls from community members to share information about past allegations and incidents of sexual misconduct and abuse by priests working in the diocese.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.