The former top deputy to Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, Bishop William F. Murphy, was involved in managing nearly one-third of that city’s priest sex abuse cases, according to a published report.
Murphy, who now heads the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, oversaw the reassignment of priests accused of sexual abuse, took care of their legal bills, and helped find them jobs and housing, Newsday reported Sunday, citing information from about 100 confidential personnel files of priests and other documents.
Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December.
Murphy, who is to testify Tuesday before a Massachusetts grand jury investigating whether he and other church officials can be prosecuted for allegedly protecting abusive priests, declined to comment.
A Rockville Centre diocesan spokeswoman told Newsday that it would be “inappropriate to discuss (Murphy’s) testimony before he has, in fact, given it.” The church had been ordered by a Massachusetts judge to turn over the documents, totaling more than 40,000 pages, to accusers’ lawyers.
Internal memos reveal that Murphy allowed certain priests accused of sexual molestation to remain active. In one case, he provided $14,000 to a priest to start a job bank to help other accused clergymen find work, Newsday said.
Murphy also dealt with cases involving some of the Boston archdiocese’s most publicized sex abuse accusations, the documents show.
In one case, Murphy arranged to have legal fees paid for the Rev. Paul Shanley, who has pleaded innocent to 10 counts of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery, and was released on bail on Dec. 11 after seven months in jail.
Murphy also tried for two years to encourage John Geoghan, a convicted child molester who was defrocked from the priesthood in 1998, to seek psychological testing and resign from his archdiocesan office job. Meanwhile, despite dozens of complaints of sexual abuse, Geoghan remained a priest on restricted ministry.