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Raped as a child at school, criticized for adult lifestyle, victim finds the faith to go on Ashamed No More

July 22, 1995|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun Staff Writer

"Her simple solution, and it's always been mine, is 'Why doesn't the cardinal just get all you kids together . . . and talk to you?' " Ms. Murphy says. "That's a very innocent way of looking at it. And that's the way Jesus would do it. But oh, no, we've got to send out our fleet of attorneys."

But the suit is precisely what has prevented her from getting the formal apology she seeks, says archdiocese spokesman William Blaul.

"The Merzbacher case is very difficult, it's very tragic, and having said those things, we're being sued for millions of dollars," he said. "When there is a big legal framework, you've got to watch things you say and things you do."

So Elizabeth Murphy's civil suit, and those of other alleged victims, remain open. She says she does not expect to see a cent and did not come up with the $140 million figure.

She thought about tearing up the civil complaint on the witness stand in the criminal trial, in a dramatic gesture to assure the jury she was testifying for justice, not money. But prosecutors told her that would look like game-playing, too.

Asked what would be just compensation from the church, she answered: "I'm not sure."

Would a real apology be enough?

"I think it would have been for me."

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