Documentary chronicles priest abuse cases in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- An HBO documentary chronicling the abuse of some deaf boys who were molested by Father Lawrence Murphy at a Catholic boarding school in St. Francis makes its U.S. debut at the Milwaukee Film Festival on Friday, October 5th.

Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney is the driving force behind the film, "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God." Gibney hopes to give the subjects of his film, who he calls heroes, something they've been searching for.

"What makes them heroic is that these deaf men have tried so long to have their voices heard, 30 years or more. And now they`re finally getting that audience that they deserved a long time ago and I think that`s very powerful," said Gibney.

The film centers around some of the students who were sexually abused by Father Murphy in the 1970s at a camp for the deaf in Wisconsin. It also explores how the church handled the case from then to now.

"I hope they see both the abuses of power and how damaging they are. But also, more importantly, in an inspirational way, they look at these 4 men, these 4 deaf men as every day heroes," said Gibney.

While making this film, Gibney did try to work with the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

'We were in contact with the archdiocese on an ongoing basis trying to get some research materials, but I think the archdiocese is trying to put this behind them," said Gibney.

The Archdiocese issued a statement about the film. It says in part, "Each time these terrible events are recounted, it is like picking a scab off an old wound-it hurts everyone, especially those who suffered abuse and their families."

Gibney believes the documentary is about the perseverance of the survivors.