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Church abuse files released without redactions

January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
After almost two hours of negotiations, the L.A. archdiocese backed down in a major battle over the release of thousands of pages of church abuse files: The names of church leaders who knew about the abuse will not be blacked out.

Judge Emilie Elias on Thursday ordered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release the files by Feb. 22.

"What you'll see in these files are often times admissions from the perpetrators," said Anthony DeMarco, attorney for the victims. "I think so many that I've worked for over the years have waited a long time to hear and see that."

Archbishop Jose Gomez said in a statement, "I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed."

Gomez went on to say that he was profoundly sorry for the sins against the victims. He said he informed Cardinal Roger Mahony, who retired in 2011, that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Mahony has expressed his sorrow for failure to protect young people entrusted to his care.

Gomez has accepted Auxillary Bishop Thomas Curry's request to be relieved of his responsibility as Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara. Curry has apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy.

For Udo Strutynski and Tony Carone, the news the archdiocese will release these documents is vindication.

"This proves that this really happened on this scale. It was that bad, and now, these are their records," Carone said.

The nation's largest archdiocese released about 12,000 pages of its own internal documents, personnel files of 89 priests accused of sexually abusing children. The documents contain names of supervisors and anyone else that was involved in abuse or a cover-up.

"They knew very well about the man who molested me, and they kept him in power," Strutynski said. "Now, nobody can say, 'We don't believe you.'"

Documents released two weeks ago showed that in the 80s, Mahony and others tried to hide some of the sexual abuse cases. For years, the archdiocese wanted all the names removed. DeMarco argued the public was entitled to the information.

"These files will demonstrate for a long period of time, there was a culture of the church, not just at the highest levels but throughout, that the idea of protecting the church was protecting pedophiles instead of protecting children," DeMarco said.

To see the clergy files, visit http://clergyfiles.la-archdiocese.org/listing.html.


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