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Mahony's deposition in abuse case released

June 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Court documents released Tuesday show Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony did not call police in 1986 when a priest admitted to molesting two boys. The documents also show Cardinal Mahony didn't warn parishioners about the molestations because the priest told him the children were illegal immigrants who had returned to Mexico.Mahony, 74, testified he didn't take stronger action against the Rev. Michael Baker because he didn't know the victims' identities and because Baker told him the abuse happened outside the parish.

The cardinal said he sent Baker to a residential center in New Mexico for treatment and later placed him on restricted ministry.

The deposition released Tuesday was part of a sex abuse lawsuit the archdiocese recently settled for $2.2 million.

The testimony is the first time Mahony gave a sworn deposition about how he handled allegations against Baker over a 14-year period as head of the Los Angeles archdiocese.

John Manly, the plaintiff's attorney who took the deposition in January, dismissed the cardinal's statements.

"This may be the one and only time he sits (for a deposition), and it paints a picture of somebody who obfuscates, dodges, lies and explains away everything," Manly said. "Any right-thinking person would not have engaged in the conduct Roger Mahony engaged in with Michael Baker unless they were trying to cover it up."

Baker is currently serving a 10-year sentence for child molestation.

A federal grand jury is investigating the archdiocese's handling of the clergy abuse crisis.

Six years ago, the archdiocese released a report acknowledging Mahony made mistakes in handling Baker.

"I believed too readily in Baker's contrition, and in our ability to treat and monitor him effectively," Mahony said in a statement Tuesday. "The past has informed the present, however, and I have made sure that our sexual abuse prevention policies and procedures will keep our children and young people safe from predators like Michael Baker."

The district has never located the two victims.

The archdiocese settled more than 500 cases of clergy sex abuse for a ground-breaking $660 million in 2007.

Mahony is expected to retire next year when he turns 75.

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