May 05, 2006

Accused, charged, exonerated – Ousted priest wages two-year battle to clear name, return to ministry

Catholic Online

By Gail Besse
National Catholic Register (

WEYMOUTH, Mass. (National Catholic Register) – A shy smile creased the face of Father Charles Murphy as the congregation’s applause enveloped him. Father Murphy had just returned to public ministry after what he called “dark days.”

He had fought a 30-year-old sexual abuse claim that a civil court eventually dismissed and a church review board declared unsubstantiated.

His ordeal began with what another Boston priest called the church’s “KGB cure” in response to the abuse crisis: A priest facing an abuse claim must cease his ministry, vacate the rectory as if he were guilty, and then prove his innocence.

It was Divine Mercy Sunday, nearly two years since the 72-year-old priest had last celebrated Sunday Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church. He walked in past a “Welcome Home” sign.

Posted by kshaw at May 5, 2006 11:08 AM