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Victim: Cardinal attack is 'karma'

December 4, 2007 12:00:00 AM PST
Major developments on Tuesday in the clergy abuse scandal. As the victims received their first checks from the abuse settlement, Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony revealed he'd been attacked by a man enraged by the Catholic Church scandal.In October, Cardinal Mahony surprised hundreds of priests when he told them he had been injured during an attack outside the cathedral. Eyewitness News is learing about the cardinal's meeting with the priests just as the first checks were mailed and deposited in the $660 million settlement with victims of priest sex abuse.

Father Joseph Shea of Holy Family Catholic Church, who was at that private meeting, says they were all shocked by the news. Some were surprised Mahony didn't report the attack to police.

"There's other people who say an assault is an assault, he should report it," said Father Shea. "But I can resonate from the feeling our Lord paid the ultimate sacrifice for something he was never responsible for."

Mahony suffers from health problems that include blood clots. Apparently the beating was severe, though the archdiocese won't talk about it.

James Robertson was sexually abused by a priest and Catholic brothers when he was a teenager. He is waiting for a check which he says will never pay him for what he is still going through.

Robertson talked to Eyewitness News about the attack on the cardinal.

"I feel sorry for anybody who has been truthfully harmed, but the cardinal's chickens are coming home to roost," said Robertson. "This is karma."

Meantime, Rita Milla got a check for a half-million dollars from the archdiocese for sexual abuse by seven priests when she was a youngster. One of them got her pregnant.

Milla and her attorney, Gloria Allred, say they've been fighting the archdiocese over the alleged rapes for more than 20 years.

"I feel that now I can start a new life. Never escape the memories. Always fight the aftereffects of what I went through," said Milla.

The archdiocese isn't commenting, but Eyewitness News has talked with two victims of priest sexual abuse. Both, like victim James Robertson, think it's more than coincidence that Mahoney decided to reveal his beating two months before the checks were mailed. Robertson calls it spin control.

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