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Alaska Man Alleges Abuse by Priest

Feb 8, 2003 | AP

A high school principal in Anchorage, Alaska, stepped forward Thursday to say he, too, was a victim of abuse by a priest who transferred from Alaska to the Boston Archdiocese.

Service High School principal Pat Podvin told an Anchorage TV station, KTUU-TV, he wanted to set the record straight that the Monsignor Francis A. Murphy had sexually abused more than one victim and that Podvin's reporting of the abuse to the church was ignored.

Murphy's name came up in Boston earlier this week when documents were released that indicated priests accused of sexual abuse had been allowed to move to other states, where they continued to have access to children.

Murphy was the subject of newspaper and television coverage. Podvin said when he opened a newspaper and spotted Murphy's picture, he had to close it quickly.

''My heart raced,'' he said.

Podvin was 18 at the time of the alleged abuse. He said he was sexually abused at a Girdwood condominium after Murphy had been drinking. The incident left him devastated, Podvin said.

Podvin said he reported being abused to the archbishop at the time, Francis Hurley, three days after the incident. He said nothing happened.

Reached late Thursday, Hurley declined to comment on Podvin's allegations. He said he hadn't seen the television report and didn't want to respond until he had.

[Attempts by the Globe earlier this week to reach Murphy were unsuccessful.]

Current Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz called the incident a tragedy that the church needed to deal with as best it could.

Records on Murphy dating back decades indicate the Archdiocese of Anchorage was aware of multiple allegations gathered against him by Anchorage police. Murphy later underwent alcohol treatment and returned to Massachusetts, apparently in 1986, and was allowed to work in hospital ministry in Methuen. He was relieved of his chaplaincy in 1995.

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