Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes

"Deliver Us From Evil"

  • Look for "Secret Codes" authors Thomas P. Doyle and Patrick Wall in Lionsgate Films' "DELIVER US FROM EVIL," premiering in theatres October 13

August 09, 2006

"No" Wasn't Something You Said to a Priest
WIStv, Columbia S.C.'s NBC affiliate, reports the story of John Morris, a man who was abused as a teenager in a Charleston S.C. orphanage.  Father Lawrence Sheedy is accused by Morris, and three other men, of giving him beer and sexually abusing him for several months.  Morris explains that because Sheedy was a priest, he allowed the abuse to continue.   In court papers Morris further reveals that:

[I] never knew that "no" was a word to say to a priest and [I] thought that what Sheedy was doing was an expression of his love.

Months after the relationship began, a woman identified in court documents as "Mother Superior Miriam" asked why Morris spent so much time with Sheedy.  Morris had a difficult time explaining that Sheedy abused him.  Shortly after their conversation, the complaint reached the Bishop and Sheedy was transfered to Arizona.

Although Sheedy is now deceased, Morris and three other victims joined to sue Sheedy and another S.C. Catholic priest.  This June, the diocese of Charleston settled the suit for $460,000.  Morris says he will use his share of the money, over $150,000, to pay for the therapy he has needed to cope with his traumatic childhood.  The settlement also requires that the diocese set up a $12 million fund to settle any further suits.

Despite the events of his childhood, Morris is still a practicing Catholic and has no ill-will toward the faith or its doctrine.  He says that there are just "certain people in the church who gave it a black-eye."

The diocese was not available for comment for this story.

Link to WIS TV article