Fr. Lawrence Murphy: Accused of Sexual Misconduct of a Minor

Fr. Lawrence Murphy


  • 1950 1974: St. John School for the Deaf, Milwaukee

Lawrence Murphy Documents  | Lawrence Murphy Timeline

July 1, 1963 – Appointed Director of St. John School for the Deaf.

Fall 1973 – Abuse is reported to the Milwaukee Police Department, who turn the report over to the St. Francis Police Department. No charges are filed.

Fall 1973 — Allegations are brought to Archbishop Cousins.

1974 – Multiple reports of abuse began to be reported including concerns about Murphy from an Episcopal priest who taught deaf children in public school,

May 18, 1974 – Murphy removed as director of St. John’s School for the Deaf, but remains as fundraiser and alumni director.

Summer 1974 – Completely removed from any role at St. John’s.

August 1974 – A series of newspaper articles in the Milwaukee Sentinel report on Murphy’s removal and of allegations.

September 1974 – Relocates to a family home in Boulder Junction, Wis., in the Diocese of Superior.

Fall 1974 – Murphy allegations reviewed by Deputy District Attorney.

September 12, 1974 – Placed on temporary sick leave.

1975 – A civil lawsuit is filed against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee about Murphy. The lawsuit is resolved in 1976.

October 29, 1975 – Letter from Archdiocese of Milwaukee acknowledges his informal assignment in Boulder Junction.

November 10, 1975 – Leave of absence extended.

September 1976 – Counseling paid for by Archdiocese of Milwaukee for a Murphy victim-survivor who came forward.

July 1980 – Bishop of Superior writes the Archdiocese of Milwaukee with information that Murphy is assisting in three parishes in the Superior diocese.

September 15, 1981 – Chancellor of Archdiocese of Milwaukee writes Bishop of Superior asking him to consider taking Murphy as a priest of Superior.

June 1986 – Bishop Sklba wrote to Murphy to ask him not to attend a St. John School for the Deaf alumni event but Murphy attended anyway.

June 1986 – Letter from archdiocese to Murphy extends his term at Boulder Junction parish for six years.

March 1987 – The same Episcopal priest who contacted the archdiocese in 1974 expressed his concern that Murphy was still celebrating Mass with the deaf community.

January 1993 – Murphy’s request for retirement is accepted.

Fall 1993 – After meeting with victims who have come forward, Archbishop Weakland reinstates restrictions on Murphy.

October 1993 – Murphy’s actions are publicly acknowledged at a day of reflection sponsored by the archdiocese. Further victims are asked to come forward.

November 1993 – Restrictions on Murphy are reinforced.

December 1993 – A series of meetings and listening sessions are held with Murphy victims.

December 1993 – Murphy self-reports sexual contact with students from St. John’s between 1952 and 1974.

Winter 1994 – Further communication is sent to the deaf community regarding Murphy and asks for the community’s assistance. A special treatment group is set up for victims by Catholic Social Services and individual therapy is offered.

Early 1995 – Canonical proceedings begin against Murphy to impose laicization.

December 1995 – A healing service for victims of clergy sexual abuse is held at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

July 1998 – Restrictions are repeated and reinforced.

August 21, 1998 – Murphy dies.

Pastoral Assignment Gathered From The Archdiocese of Milwaukee