PANEL EYES MURPHY’S ROLE
A federal grand jury in Boston is investigating Bishop William Murphy's role in certifying to the US Department of Veterans Affairs that a Boston priest whose file included several memos warning about the priest's attraction to boys had no adverse information that would disqualify him as a Catholic chaplain at a California VA hospital. The probe is also examining Murphy's handling of sex abuse incidents at the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The criminal investigation centers on the case of Rev. William Scanlan, a retired Boston priest who is living in Rhode Island. He was approved for a VA hospital position in Menlo Park despite notes in his personnel file that he had exhibited questionable behavior around minors. The Scanlan documents are just one of dozens of Boston priest files that Laura Ahearn, the executive director of Parents for Megan's Law in Stony Brook, an advocacy group, said she turned over to Boston prosecutors this winter after she contacted them about her research of Murphy's tenure in Boston. In February, days after she called for Murphy's resignation at a news conference because she contended he failed to protect children in Boston from predatory priests, Ahearn contacted the US attorney's office in Boston. She said yesterday she was interviewed on June 2 at her office by an assistant US attorney and two investigators from the VA's inspector general's office about the Scanlan case and her dealings with Murphy. She said she was specifically asked about her work at St. Raphael's Parish in East Meadow. Ahearn had been hired by Murphy last June to conduct abuse prevention workshops at the parish in turmoil after the arrest of Matthew Maiello, a former youth minister, who was convicted and jailed for raping and sodomizing four teens. She said that while she was at the parish, she and Murphy discussed expanding her program throughout the diocese. However, Murphy became angry with her last summer in a telephone conversation about the scope of her recommendations on educating pastors about detecting sexual predators, and he said, I am not going to give you carte blanche in my parishes and hung up. They were interested in knowing the details of conversations he and I had and what led to our falling out. They were interested in knowing what recommendations I had given him, she said.