Catholic school's athletic director charged in sex scandal

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 18, 2011 3:11 PM
Catholic school's athletic director charged in sex scandal

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, already reeling from a pedophilia scandal, said on Monday a Catholic school's athletic director was put on leave after he was charged with soliciting sex from a student.

Francis Murphy, 39, was put on administrative leave from his job as head of the athletic department at Archbishop John Carroll High School in suburban Radnor.

Murphy was charged with corruption of a minor and promoting prostitution, said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

He is accused of telling an 11th grade male student in a Facebook chat that he would be "his sugar daddy,"

He offered to "help you out with money and stuff in exchange for favors," according to an affidavit filed in the criminal case. Murphy listed abbreviations for specific sexual acts, the affidavit said.

Eventually, detectives set up a new Facebook account and, pretending to be the victim, arranged to meet Murphy at the Frosty Falls Ice Cream shop in suburban Bridgeport. Murphy was arrested there.

According to the district attorney, Murphy first met the youth at a football camp when the student was in 9th grade.

Earlier this year, the archdiocese, the sixth largest in the nation with 1.5 million Catholics, was excoriated in a grand jury report for harboring "rapist priests." Among those criminally charged were a monsignor, three priests, a former priest and a parochial school teacher.

Civil suits have also been filed by victims against the archdiocese, which has since placed more than two dozen priests on administrative leave.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)