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Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit: Victim Sues the Pope

A man who claims he was sexually molested by the headmaster of St. John’s School for the Deaf when he was a student there is suing the Vatican and Pope Benedict for clergy sexual abuse. Terry Kohut, who is deaf, says he was molested and assaulted by Father Lawrence C. Murphy, who was head of the boarding school from 1950 to 1974. Per CNN, Kohut, now 60, is the first plaintiff to sue Pope Benedict for clergy sex abuse.

Pope Benedict, previously known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, used to head the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The CDF was tasked with investigating clergy sex abuse allegations involving minors. Per church records, Murphy molested and raped up to 200 deaf boys.

In Kohut’s sexual assault complaint, Kobut says that the Vatican’s “policy of secrecy” and attempts to cover up the child sex abuse incidents contributed to causing him and others to become Murphy’s victims. Murphy allegedly would walk through the school’s dorm and rape and sexually assault boys in their bed. According to church documents, he also molested and assaulted victims in the church’s confessional.

It wasn’t until 1974, following years of allegations and reports of sexual abuse, that Murphy was removed from his post. He allegedly continued to molest others.

Ratiznger finally authorized a secret church trial in the 1990’s. The proceedings, however, were halted and Murphy remained a priest until his death in 1998. The Vatican says that when it dealt with his case, it took into consideration the fact that it had been more than 20 years since the sex abuse allegations had been reported and that Murphy was already in poor health.

In a CNN interview, Kohut and two other men who claim that Murphy sexually assaulted them when they were younger too say that some of the boys had attempted to tell police and the District Attorney in Milwaukee about the sex abuse but that no one believed them.

Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
There are many adults today that were the victims of clergy sexual abuse when they were children. Sex abuse of any kind is a crime that is punishable by law. It also can be grounds for a Boston personal injury lawsuit against the perpetrator or those that allowed the abuser to molest his/her victims.

Sexual abuse can result in physical injuries. The emotional wounds resulting from sex abuse often take a lifetime to heal while continuing to impact a victim’s well-being, relationships, and career.

Deaf victim of sex abuse is suing pope, and going public with his story for the first time, blogs, September 23, 2010
Pope Named in Lawsuit by Clergy Sex Abuse Victim, PoliticsDaily, September 23, 2010

Related Web Resources:
The Holy See: Benedictus XVI

The Vatican

Abuse in the Catholic Church, Boston.com