November 22, 2005

Feds end church sex case



November 22, 2005

A federal prosecutor has ended a probe of the protection of sexually abusive priests by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston without seeking indictments of former top officials, including William Murphy, now bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as Boston archbishop almost three years ago.

In lieu of criminal prosecutions, U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said he has reached an unprecedented agreement with the archdiocese, imposing intensive training and public disclosure requirements.

"In many ways I share the frustration that many have expressed about the conduct of decisionmakers of the Archdiocese of Boston," Sullivan said in an interview yesterday.

"But the bottom line is I think this settlement will have a much greater benefit going forward than a successful prosecution, with the consequences of maybe a fine for the organization, if we were successful."

The settlement ends a nearly two-year federal investigation that targeted Murphy's role on May 12, 1999, in certifying that a now-retired Boston priest had nothing in his background to disqualify him from a job as a federal military chaplain. At the time Murphy signed the document, the church had several memos warning about the Rev. William J. Scanlan's infatuation with boys, as well as other signs of instability.

Posted by kshaw at November 22, 2005 10:57 AM