Court Dismisses Lawsuit against Diocese

By Tom Morton
January 26, 2009

A woman has settled her civil lawsuit against a Catholic priest who molested her in the mid 1970s in Casper, according to an attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne.

"There was a settlement," Paul Hickey of Cheyenne said Friday.

"It was essentially the same as to what was offered to her a year ago," Hickey said.

The woman, now in her 40s and living in Albany County, was in her teens when her family moved to Casper and joined St. Anthony's Catholic Church, according to the complaint she filed in November through her attorney John Reese of Green River.

Reese declined to comment on the settlement, the terms of which are confidential.

District Judge Scott Skavdahl granted the victim's request to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning that she cannot bring the matter before the court again.

The girl met the Rev. John Murray in 1976, and he sexually abused her at least four times in Natrona County. By 2003, she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, had anxiety attacks and nightmares, and reported the abuse to the Casper Police Department, which filed charges.

In June 2006, he pleaded guilty to engaging in indecent liberties with a minor, according to court records.

In her civil lawsuit, she stated the diocese had reassigned Murray who had previous intimate relations with young woman.

She accused the diocese of fraud, and negligent supervision because it should have known about the abuse, warned families, and prevented Murray from having contact with children, according to her lawsuit.

While the lawsuit was filed in early November, it apparently was never formally served to Murray or the Diocese.

Meanwhile, Murray violated a term of his probation, was arrested and later released.

Murray has apologized to his probation officer, and the 7th District Attorney's office is still deciding what action to take.

Reach Tom Morton at (307) 266-0592, or at


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