Priest Pleaded Guilty

Casper Star-Tribune
June 22, 2006

A retired Roman Catholic priest has pleaded guilty for kissing and touching a teenage girl in the 1970s, when he was a parish priest in Casper.

The Rev. John Murray pleaded guilty in Natrona County District Court on June 2 to taking indecent liberties with a minor. Murray has been free on bond and living in Cheyenne while his pre-sentence report is completed.

The woman told investigators last year that she was molested in 1976 and 1977 by Murray, court records said.

The woman said Murray kissed and touched her several times starting when she was 16 and sometimes would remove her shirt and bra. The woman also said Murray kissed and touched her and entered her sleeping bag during an overnight retreat.

Murray was transferred to Lander in 1977. The woman said Murray wrote letters to her from both Casper and Lander saying he was sorry for what he'd done and asking for her forgiveness.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, which covers all of Wyoming, said it was aware of Murray's guilty plea.

Murray recently was volunteering at St. Anthony's Church in Casper. Michael Carr, vicar general for the diocese, said Murray was relieved of his duties when the charges were filed.

Carr said there was no indication Murray engaged in improper behavior with any other young people. "We apologize for and deeply regret any harm that has come to anyone by a church employee or volunteer," he said.

Murray's attorney, Michael Krampner, declined to comment.


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