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Faith sustains Merzbacher abuse survivor
The Catholic Review ^ | Aug. 19, 2010 | George P. Matysek Jr.

Posted on 08/19/2010 8:24:01 AM PDT by MDJohnPaul

When Elizabeth Ann Murphy was growing up in South Baltimore, she loved sneaking into the choir loft at St. Mary, Star of the Sea. Hiding away in the quiet church, the youngster would sit still and stare at the tabernacle.

“I always really had a strong sense of the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist,” remembered Murphy, one of nine children whose family home was directly across the street from the parish. “I loved the Church and I loved God.”

John A. Merzbacher nearly shattered that deep-held faith.

Soon after Murphy began middle school at the Catholic Community School in 1972, Merzbacher raped her repeatedly. The popular English teacher, who kept a revolver in his Locust Point classroom, forced Murphy and other students to have sex with each other. He threatened to kill them and their parents if they told.

Murphy’s physical torment ended when she graduated three years later. The psychological and spiritual pain would last much longer.

“For so long, I felt such shame,” said Murphy, a slender 49-year-old woman with closely cropped hair and steel-blue eyes. “How could a person like me – how could I go to Mass and love Jesus with this horrible secret? I felt like I couldn’t approach the altar anymore.”

In 1995, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman sentenced Merzbacher to four consecutive life terms for his crimes against Murphy. Prosecutors decided not to proceed with other cases against him, dropping more than 100 additional charges from 13 alleged victims.

Merzbacher clung to his innocence throughout the hearings, but the former teacher is now on the verge of admitting guilt.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: abuse; baltimore; catholic; christianity; court; maryland; religion

1 posted on 08/19/2010 8:24:04 AM PDT by MDJohnPaul
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To: MDJohnPaul

Forced the kids to have sex? None of them told this to anyone? Repressed memories?


2 posted on 08/19/2010 8:38:08 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, then writes again.)
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