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Cardinal Roger Mahony, victims speak out on clergy abuse

February 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Cardinal Roger Mahony is speaking out after being stripped of all public duties, while victims are speaking out about the release of the clergy abuse files.

On Thursday, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez said in a statement that Mahony no longer had any administrative or public duties. Mahony said in a letter posted on his blog, "Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem."

Documents released two weeks ago showed that in the 1980s, Mahony and others tried to hide some of the sexual abuse cases. Mahony says he dealt with priests accused of molesting children by removing them from parishs and shipping them off to treatment centers. He said that's what diocese across the country did back then.

"While there was some information dealing with child neglect, sexual abuse was never discussed," Mahony said. "Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then. But when I retired as the active Archbishop, I handed over to you an Archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth."

Esther Miller was 16 when she says Father Michael Nocita first sexually abused her. She says she attempted suicide the following year.

"I'm not a practicing Catholic. I'll never go back to this cult ever," Miller said.

Miller is angry that church documents show Nocita had a number of incidents in the 1980s and 1990s. On Friday, Miller and other members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, held a news conference to talk about the newly released church documents. The documents are supposed to show the names of anyone who knew about the abuse and those who allegedly covered it up. But they say a number of names are still not there.

"This is nonsense. These people have spent millions upon millions of the faithful's dollars to protect themselves," said Jim Robertson of SNAP. "They fought the release of any documents all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, and still, they're not giving us the right."

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. Both Mahony and Curry are still bishops in good standing.

"It sends a message to all of the clergy if the highest ranking members are publicly condemned," said Anthony DeMarco, attorney for the victims. "It's taken an awful long time."

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


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