Stop Deaf Child Sexual Abuse

United States

By Emilio Ferreiro - 10 December 2019

International Sign

First report

In 1974 a former student reported to the school and the case was closed after a judicial investigation. In the mid-1990s, two U.S. bishops requested the Vatican to conduct a canonical trial against the priest at the request of the Milwaukee Deaf community. Finally, the New York Times releases documents revealing that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did not respond to more than 200 complaints of sexual abuse against Rev. Lawrence Murphy.


St. John's School for the Deaf in Saint Francis (Milwaukee)

Number of victims

About 200 students.

Term of abuses

24 years (beetween 1950 and 1974).


Rev. Lawrence Murphy

Rev Lawrence Murphy smiling and picking the phone
Rev. Lawrence Murphy

Current Situation

The canonical trial was dismissed because many years had passed since the events and Rev. Lawrence Murphy was very ill at the time of the complaint.

The Reverend was not expelled from the clerical state either because he was repentant, severely ill and had been retired for twenty-four years. So he died without being judged or sanctioned by the Church.


Clergy sex abuse Deaf victim speaks out against the abuser
The trailer of HBO documentary 'Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God' (optional English subtitles, more info on IMDB)