On February 11, Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, a Long Island-based victims advocacy group, charged Bishop William Murphy covered up the priest sex abuse scandal in Boston and can't be trusted to protect the children in the church's care on Long Island.  She said Catholics should hold back donations to the diocese.  In the Murphy Files, there is evidence of deception through omission, evidence of outright fabrication and evidence of putting children in great danger, she said.  The diocese responded to Ahearn in a short statement: Even after a lengthy inquiry by the Attorney General in Boston, no one has ever established that Bishop Murphy has engaged in any wrongful conduct during his tenure as Vicar General in Boston.

Ahearn used original documents, at a presentation at the group's Stony Brook headquarters, from the files of 16 accused priests and the recent Massachusetts attorney general's report and contrasted them with Murphy's past statements.  For an example, Murphy had defended himself by saying another priest named Murphy had been assigned to handle the abuse complaints.  He also said he only had routine involvement with the priests after they had been removed from ministry.  Ahearn said, If you are asking me if I am calling him a liar, the answer is yes.  She points to the decisions, such as Murphy's allowing a priest in Boston, who was accused of abuse, to continue serving in a hospital and wear a clerical collar.  She said he cannot be trusted to protect the estimated 200,000 children in the diocese's educational, religious and sports programs.

Murphy issued a detailed rebuttal to this latest challenge to his leadership.  Yesterday he said that he had done nothing legally or ethically wrong during his tenure as the second in command of the Archdiocese of Boston.  In a point-by-point response to Ahearn, Murphy said her false and faulty allegation was distracting from the church's work of preaching the Gospel.  In his defense, he said Ahearn's indiscriminate confusion of him with another priest named William Murphy, who had day-to-day responsibility for dealing with accused priests, is the most glaring but not the only example of her incomplete, faulty and mistaken research.  At a Voice of the Faithful meeting in Manhasset, where Ahearn got a standing ovation from more than 300 people after repeating her assertions about Murphy's involvement, she responded by saying, The facts and the documents speak for themselves.