Terry Kohut has kept a dark secret for nearly 50 years. Now he is breaking his silence, becoming a key figure in the sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and the growing controversy over what Pope Benedict XVI did about it.
When Terry Kohut was barely a teen, he says he was sexually molested and assaulted by Father Lawrence C. Murphy, the headmaster and priest of the school where he lived, St. John’s School for the Deaf, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
According to court and church documents Murphy raped and molested as many as 200 deaf boys who lived at the school between 1950 to 1974.
Pope Named in Lawsuit
Kohut has filed the first sex-abuse lawsuit against the Vatican that names Pope Benedict, previously known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as a defendant.
Ratzinger was once head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, (the CDF) that was in charge of investigating the sexual abuse of minors by priests. And though church records show the abuse by Father Murphy was brought to the attention of Ratzinger and the CDF, a Canon Law trial against the headmaster was stopped and he was allowed to remain a priest.
The Vatican’s “policy of secrecy” in abuse cases, and its “directives to conceal the sexual abuse of children” by priests, the lawsuit says, helped bring about the abuse of Kohut and others by Father Murphy.
Now CNN is airing a special documentary report, “What the Pope Knew.” The program will air Sept. 25 and Sept. 26, at 9pm here in Atlantic.
For almost twenty years I have dedicated my practice to representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse. As a public service I have prepared a resource guide for survivors of sexual abuse in Atlantic Canada. You can receive a free copy of this report by contacting me through this blog, or my website at www.apmlawyers.com or by calling toll free in Atlantic Canada 1-866-974-8281.