Accused Priest Steps Away from Ministry

By John M. Guilfoil
Boston Globe
April 4, 2010

MASSACHUSETTS -- A Catholic priest on the South Shore has stepped away from ministry after being accused of sexually molesting a boy at a Milton parish 40 years ago.

The Rev. Charles Murphy, attached to St. Francis Xavier Parish in South Weymouth, allegedly fondled a boy who was 14 and 15 years old, said Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer who has represented about 700 victims of clergy sex abuse.

"The Archdiocese of Boston received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor," said Kelly Lynch, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese. "Upon receiving the allegation, the archdiocese immediately notified civil authorities of the accusation. Further, the archdiocese initiated an investigation into this matter. As a result of the allegation made, Father Murphy has voluntarily agreed to refrain from public ministry."

A spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney's office could not provide information yesterday on whether the office was conducting an investigation.

Garabedian said the alleged abuse occurred from 1970-71, when Murphy was at St. Agatha Parish in Milton. The victim said he was fondled in the bathroom of the church rectory as well as at an amusement park and on a ski trip, Garabedian said.

"My client feels as though children are now safer as a result of Father Murphy being removed from ministry," Garabedian said in a phone interview yesterday.

Garabedian said he has been watching Murphy for the past five years, ever since another client brought similar allegations against him. Garabedian said he was not able to bring a formal case against Murphy because the victim, who was speech- and hearing-impaired, faced a significant communication barrier.

Murphy has worked with the deaf community. On the St. Francis Xavier website, he is listed as "Director of Deaf Apostolate."

The allegations come as Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, on Good Friday, defended the actions of the church and particularly Pope Benedict XVI, in handling the clergy sex abuse scandal.

"Cardinal O'Malley is trying to put a positive spin on a horrible situation," Garabedian said. "The issue the cardinal should be addressing is about the safety of children and the prevention of pedophilia. And not about public relations."



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.