Apr 23, 2010 / 08:52 am
In a statement released by the Holy See's Press Office on Friday, the Vatican's lawyer in the U.S., Jeffrey Lena, states that a recent lawsuit against the Holy See regarding an abusive priest from Wisconsin is not legitimate. The case does, however, show an attempt by "certain U.S. lawyers" to take advantage of the judiciary for media relations, he argues.
The declaration from the lawyer comes after the filing of a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of Milwaukee, naming the Vatican as a defendant in a case about abuses committed by Fr. Lawrence Murphy. The Wisconsin priest, who sexually abused hundreds of minors between 1950 and 1974 at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee, died in 1998.
Lena responds in the statement released on Friday, "first and foremost, sympathy is due to the victims of the criminal acts committed by Fr. Lawrence Murphy. By sexually abusing children, Murphy violated both the law and the trust that his victims had placed in him."
Stating that there have been "legitimate lawsuits" filed by victims of abuse in the past, Lena underscores, "this is not one of them."