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Professor says priest plagiarized her work for Sheen biography

Posted: Thursday, December 28, 2000

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- An authority on the late Roman Catholic Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen has accused a New York City priest of borrowing heavily from her work for a book on the pioneer televangelist.

The book has been withdrawn from stores, but Kathleen Riley, an assistant professor of history at Ohio Dominican College, is also demanding an apology and attorney's fees.

Riley says the Rev. Myles P. Murphy, an assistant pastor at St. Gabriel's Church in the Bronx, lifted long quotations and footnotes from her 1988 doctoral dissertation for his book ''The Life and Times of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.''

''The thing that jumped out at me right away was that he stole the footnotes,'' Riley told The Columbus Dispatch. ''His page 2 was my page 37. His footnotes 3, 4 and 5 match up with my footnotes 3, 4, and 8. Copy a couple, skip a few.

''There are footnotes for sources that aren't even in the bibliography. You would flunk that in an undergraduate seminar. It's just appalling.''

Sheen gained immense national popularity in the 1950's with his television show, ''Life Is Worth Living.'' He died in 1979.

Riley, 46, is one of a small group of Sheen scholars. Her dissertation, which she wrote to earn her doctorate at the University of Notre Dame, is cited 11 times in Murphy's book. Although Murphy agrees he should have given more credit to Riley, he denied any attempt to plagiarize and refused to apologize.

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