Sex-abuse doc blames Vatican

New York Post

Alex Gibney — the Oscar-winning documentarian who has trained his lens on Eliot Spitzer, Lance Armstrong, Julian Assange and Enron — has found his most controversial topic yet with the Oscar-buzzed exposé “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” which traces a sex-abuse scandal from a Milwaukee Catholic church to the Vatican.

The movie was banned by the Venice and Rome film festivals this year, and Gibney says of its rejection: “I was disappointed. The Vatican exerts a very strong influence in Italy. There is a palpable sense of fear there. This film takes on the Vatican’s complicity [in covering it up].”

The HBO film, in theaters Nov. 16, follows the story of Father Lawrence Murphy at the St. John’s School for the Deaf in Wisconsin, who molested 200 of the school’s pupils for 24 years until 1974. He was never disciplined, even after his actions were brought to the attention of the Vatican. Instead, he was moved to other schools.

“The direct connection of the Vatican to this sheds light on the way they’ve shoved this stuff under the carpet,” says Gibney, who discovered a similar scandal involving deaf students in Verona, Italy, while making the film.

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