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Montfort priest jailed for trespass
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MAUSTON — The pastor of the Montfort and Highland Catholic churches spent five days in jail last week after he was convicted of trespassing at Volk Field in Camp Douglas.

Rev. James H. Murphy, 62, Highland, was one of nine people arrested Aug. 25 after a walk from Madison to Volk Field to protest American military use of drones.

Murphy was convicted in a trial in Juneau County Circuit Court Jan. 4 and fined $232. According to online reports, Murphy chose to serve the jail time in lieu of paying the fine.

A disorderly conduct citation was dismissed Dec. 23, according to court records.

Murphy is the pastor of St. Thomas Catholic Church in Montfort and Sts. Anthony and Philip Catholic Church in Highland. 

According to, Murphy told Juneau County Circuit Judge Paul Curran that “We cannot remain silent without becoming complicit. … You view this as a trespass charge. I view it as a long tradition of opposition to war.”

Murphy was arrested at Volk Field in May 2014 when he and another activist took a public tour of the facility and then handed out flyers critical of military use of drones, according to the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. Murphy was found guilty in a court trial Sept. 11, 2014 and fined $232, according to court records.

Murphy told the State Journal in 2013 he had lost count of how many times he had been arrested, all for antiwar protests except one arrest outside a Madison abortion clinic in the late 1980s.

Murphy formerly was the pastor of St. Augustine University Parish in Platteville, where in the 1990s he helped 11 refugees from Rwanda get to Platteville. One of them was Michael Musonera, who wrote Rwanda: Surviving the Genocide about the Rwandan genocide. Murphy left St. Augustine in 2004.

Murphy also protested at Platteville’s check-cashing businesses and at the construction of the Boscobel Secure Program Facility, formerly known as “Supermax,” in the early 2000s.