Abuse Victims Allege L.A. Church Officials Tried to Hide Molestation Reports

Internal Los Angeles Archdiocese records released Monday have prompted a reaction from abuse victims who allege high-ranking officials tried to cover-up sexual abuse.

Victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles demanded Tuesday that former Cardinal Roger Mahony and other high-ranking officials be publicly admonished for allegedly trying to cover-up clergy molestations and protect priests from law enforcement.

Diocese officials said, however, they have apologized for actions of the past and taken wide-ranging steps to prevent abuse and report it quickly if it does occur.

The exchange came in response to internal church documents released Monday as part of a pending civil lawsuit against the archdiocese.

"We are here in response to the hundreds of pages of documents that were released yesterday that showed that Cardinal Roger Mahony had personal involvement in the cover-up of childhood sexual abuse in the archdiocese," Joelle Casteix of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

"He personally managed the careers of predator priests. And he and other high-ranking members of the archdiocese, including now-Bishop (Thomas) Curry, worked diligently to ensure that men who hurt children, who abused children and who destroyed communities were never going to see a day behind bars," she said. "We were shocked and disgusted to see these documents."

According to the internal church documents, Mahony and Curry -- then a monsignor serving as Mahony's chief adviser on sex abuse issues -- discussed ways to prevent law enforcement from learning about molestations of children by clergy in 1986 and 1987, more than a decade before the abuses became public knowledge.

In confidential letters, Curry proposed strategies to prevent police from investigating three priests who had admitted to church officials that they abused young boys. Curry suggested to Mahony that they prevent the clergymen from seeing therapists who might alert authorities.

In one instance, Curry suggested that a priest be sent to "a lawyer who is also a psychiatrist" to keep their discussions "under the protection of privilege."

Curry also suggested they send the priests to other states to further thwart law enforcement, according to the documents. In one case, he suggested that a priest remain out of state to avoid the possibility that a young victim would spot him and contact police.

In response to the release of the documents, Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office, said prosecutors "will review and evaluate all documents as they become available to us."

Mahony issued an apologetic statement Monday, admitting he had been "naive" in his response to the problem. Curry, now the auxiliary bishop of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region, did the same Tuesday.

"I wish to acknowledge and apologize for those instances when I made decisions regarding the treatment and disposition of clergy accused of sexual abuse that in retrospect appear inadequate or mistaken," Curry said. "Most especially, I wish to express my sympathy to all the victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

"Like many others, I have come to a clearer understanding over the years of the causes and treatment of sexual abuse, and I have fully implemented in my Pastoral Region the archdiocese's policies and procedures for reporting abuse, screening those who supervise children and abuse-prevention training for adults and children," he said.

The archdiocese also issued another statement, noting, "No institution has learned more from mistakes made decades ago in dealing with priests who have abused young people than the Archdiocese of Los Angeles."

"We have apologized for the sad and shameful actions of some priests, as well as for our inadequate responses in assisting victims and in dealing with perpetrators," according to the archdiocese. "For more than a decade, however, few institutions have done as much as the Los Angeles Archdiocese to promptly report abuse allegations to civil authorities, to screen all those who supervise children and to train adults and children in the latest abuse- prevention procedures.

"The past cannot be changed, but we have learned from it."

The confidential files of at least 75 more accused abusers are slated to become public in coming weeks under the terms of a 2007 civil settlement with more than 500 victims.

What do you think of LA Catholic church officials covering up sex abuse and in this fashion? Are you surprised?

B. Allen January 26, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Hang em!!!!
not Carl Peterson lll January 26, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Mahony deeply involved In racketering. When the church's main response to molesting is to cover it up, the priority is them, not the victims, and not the future victims. AND THIS IS A CHURCH????? DAMN THEM TO HELL!!!!!!! There. I said it. Anyone got a problem with that? And I am among those that are freindly to the church. I was an alter boy decades ago. Nothing ever happened to me or anyone I have ever talked to. I was dIsgusted when this started coming out ten years ago. But then we get this drip, drip, drip of info over ten years, without the needed major route out. And without the clean out, public perseption, and reality means that this problem will continue. Covering up child raper, then not being forthcoming after its out??? Yes I mean what I say to those involved, but not to the majority of the good ones: DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!
Peter WORMER January 27, 2013 at 07:02 AM
....SURPRISE..????..Is anybody REALLY surprised, come on.....................The catholic church is hardly the ONLY organization touched by molestation charges, the ONLY "reason" it has been relatively "easy" to target the Catholic church is because of its centralized hierarchy - lest other religious denominations heave a sigh of relief, I've personnally witnessed an Episcopal church struggle with this issue..............Being a "fallen catholic" who has never bothered to try to "get up",...I see a moral/ethical bankrupt entity totally devoid of humanity, over the ages only increase its power over vulnerable people......There is only ONE THING that can be done to bring down this secret society:.....STOP donating money to the church, the monster will die as surely as you or I would die when starved of oxygen...........Ditto for the Boy Scouts of America.
Can't Say January 28, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Wonder what they'll say when they're judged? That church is a crime syndicate.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something