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Monday, April 17, 2006

Will Cardinal Mahony Obey Court Ruling?

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by Cardinal Roger Mahony (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 05-1017), will His Eminence release the files on alleged pedophile priests Michael Baker and George Miller to District Attorney Steve Cooley?

The prosecutor has been trying to obtain 14 church counseling records dealing with allegations of child molestation. Similar records are also being sought in hundreds of lawsuits filed by sexual abuse victims, including more than 500 in California alone. The records might contain details from the priests’ confessions and treatment.

Cooley stated today that “It’s unfortunate that it took four years of litigation to reach this day of justice for victims. The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial to review this matter establishes an important principle that evidence of criminality be made to appropriate authorities.”

Cardinal Mahony has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of church funds to fight this case, and there is no indication yet that he will not continue the legal battle to protect what he has claimed is “privileged” information, despite that fact that there is no such “privilege” is either civil or canon (church) law. It exists only in the minds of the Cardinal and his attorneys.

Meanwhile, Father Baker continues to sit in county jail, after having been arrested at the airport, returning from a trip to Thailand.. Retired Father Miller was arrested at his home in Oxnard in 2002 and held on $500,000 bail. Baker had confessed his actions in 1986 and was sent for counseling for six months, and returned to his ministry in 2002.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said today that the court ruling “will have no effect on the ongoing efforts of the Archdiocese to settle the civil cases through mediation.” Does that mean, if the church can come up with enough money to pay off the hundreds of lawsuits, the church won’t have to release the records? Not likely. The victims and their attorneys have gone beyond the point of simply seeking restitution.

The experience of the Boston Archdiocese, much smaller than Los Angeles, presents a good profile of what we can expect in the near future. Boston Cardinal Bernard F. Law had taken the position that reports of pedophilia were simply “isolated incidents,” but as more and more victims came forward, it soon became clear that the clergy abuse was a systemic problem, kept out of the public eye by an elaborate culture of secrecy, deception and intimidation. Victims were either ignored or paid off.

Accused priests were quietly transferred from parish to parish, or sent for brief periods of psychological counseling. Cardinal Law and his deputies had detailed information on the archdiocese’s most serious molesters. By the end of 2002, over 1,200 priests had been accused nationwide, and five U.S. prelates, including Law, had been forced to resign.

What happed to Law? He is now head of a Basilica in Rome and an active member of several Papal commissions. Meanwhile, 550 abuse victims in Boston were paid $85-million in a 2003 settlement.

But it could be worse. The Maine Supreme Court last Friday ruled that the state must release its investigative records of 18 pedophile priests to the newspapers, in a suit brought by the Portland Press Herald. Although much of the criminality is beyond the statute of limitations, the fallout of this information is expected to have an adverse effect on the local parishes.

As for Cardinal Mahony, he is caught between what he believes to be a bishop’s duty to be a father to his priests, and to be especially compassionate to them, and his responsibility to his community and its laws designed to protect those to whom his priests minister.

He has lost sight far too long of the gaping wounds inflicted on vulnerable young people, their families and the confidence and trust of the laity. Some of his shepherds ran with the wolves.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Another great post, Jennifer! Mahoney is such a weasel, all sympathy for the pedophiles and none for the victims...

April 17, 2006 8:27 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

McIntyre refers to him as "Don Corleone Mahony" or "phony baloney Mahony." Either name works. Fork over the damn files.

April 17, 2006 10:03 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why is it that Martini Republic accuses anyone who calls Mahoney to task a Catholic basher?

April 17, 2006 10:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mahony should ROT IN HELL!!!!

How dare he shield and move those abusive priests!

And then he the gall to lecture others about immigration, Valley secession, and other issues.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about the "Rog Mahal" he built downtown--the monument to his own ego.

Rot in hell, Mahony! Rot in hell!

April 17, 2006 10:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

fork over the files...he is the only one across the nation fighting so hard to shield the church, or himself, taking it all the way to the supreme court. it makes you wonder what he really has to hide...

April 17, 2006 10:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mahony is telling people now to not boycott on May 1st. Someone stated the catholic church has spent over $500 million on these molestation cases. Mahony even has a pr firm helping plus the $400 an hour attorneys. The victims should come out now against him.

April 18, 2006 8:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mahoney for Pope!

Viva El Papa!!!

April 18, 2006 3:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mahoney is evil! He busted a union his grave diggers tried to organize. He lied to the public about being open and working with officials to uncover the molesters in the priesthood. He is no better than a pedophile. I hope there is hell just so he will be there.

April 21, 2006 8:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

MAHONEY BETTER THAN ANYONE SHOULD KNOW THAT HIS SIN'S WILL BE JUDGED AT HIS DEATH.
YOU WOULD THINK THAT HE WOULD KEEP HIS ETERNAL LIFE IN HELL OR HEAVEN IN MIND WITH THE WAY HE HAS TREATED AND LIED ALL THESE YEARS TO "HIS FLOCK" AND THOSE ABUSED.

April 23, 2006 10:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What a great site
» » »

November 26, 2006 1:14 PM  

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