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LA District Attorney's Office will investigate molester priest documents

Cardinal Roger Mahony is seen in this undated file photo. Clergy sex abuse victims asked Archbishop Jose Gomez to publically admonish former Cardinal Roger Mahony in a news conference held on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.
January 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office will investigate recently released documents about molester priests. Church sex abuse victims and their supporters held a news conference outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels Tuesday.

The news conference was organized by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and was held regarding documents detailing a pattern of cover-ups made by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and retired Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Victims demanded action in Tuesday's conference and asked current Archbishop Jose Gomez to publically admonish Mahony for knowingly covering up for abusers and keeping them in the ministry for years.

Joelle Casteix of SNAP says the recent release of clergy sex abuse documents confirm that young victims have been telling the truth all along.

"We are all here for a single mission," Casteix said Tuesday, surrounded by fellow victims. "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."

SNAP also asked that the Archdiocese immediately fire, remove, and punish anyone who abused or endangered a child.

The newly released documents revealed that retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top officials with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles tried to conceal the molestation of children from law enforcement decades ago.

The files showed that church leaders moved abusive priests out of state or paid them secret salaries to avoid police, handled damage control and consulted with accused priests behind the scenes.

"He personally managed the careers of predator priests and he and other high-ranking members of the Archdiocese including now Bishop Curry worked diligently that men who hurt children, who abused children, and who destroyed communities were never going to see a day behind bars," Casteix said.

The files also showed that Mahony received psychological reports on some priests that mentioned the possibility of many other victims. But there is no indication that he or other church leaders investigated further.

Cardinal Mahony, who retired in 2011, has apologized repeatedly in recent years for his handling of the abuse allegations.

"It remains my daily and fervent prayer that God's grace will flood the heart and soul of each victim, and that their life journey continues forward with even greater healing," Mahony said in a statement Monday. "I am sorry."

Bishop Thomas Curry released an apology following the news conference 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."

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued a statement Tuesday: "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. 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. We are justifiably proud of our record of child protection in the 21st century, and we remain vigilant against all that would harm our children and young people."

The question now is whether or not Mahony or others in the church could face criminal prosecution. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office confirms to Eyewitness News that they will review and evaluate all documents as they become available.

"The only that we can get true accountability is when predators and those who aid them are put behind bars," said Casteix.


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