Documents released today reveal the extent to which catholic church leaders went to protect pedophile priests:
- fought for years to keep the files secret
- desired to keep authorities from discovering children were being abused
- proposed strategies to prevent police from investigating (at least) three priests who
had admitted to church officials that they abused young boys
- prevented priests from seeing therapists for fear they might alert authorities
- reassigned priests to avoid criminal investigations
"[Bishop] Mahony and other top [Catholic] aides maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests and provide damage control for the [Catholic] church.
Some of the documents provide the strongest evidence to date that Mahony and another key official worked to protect a priest who revealed in therapy sessions that he had raped an 11-year-old boy and abused up to 17 boys.
Monsignor Peter Garcia told therapists that he had molested boys “on and off” since his ordination in 1966. He sexually abused up to 20 boys, including one he allegedly tied up and raped, according to church records. Many of his victims were undocumented immigrants from Mexico, and Garcia assured church officials they would not go to the authorities. Garcia left the priesthood in 1989. He died in 2009 without being prosecuted.Let's read that again. A priest admitted to raping an 11-year-old-boy and abused up to 17 boys and they wanted to protect...............the Priest????
...the memos written in 1986 and 1987 by Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, then the archdiocese's chief advisor on sex abuse cases, offer the strongest evidence yet of a concerted effort by officials in the nation's largest Catholic diocese to shield abusers from police. The newly released records, which the archdiocese fought for years to keep secret, reveal in church leaders' own words a desire to keep authorities from discovering that children were being molested.But now, they're really, really sorry...
First from Monsignor Thomas J. Curry (previously a top-aid to Bishop Mahoney, now Auxiliary Bishop for the archdiocese's Santa Barbara region)
"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...Like many others, I have come to a clearer understanding over the years of the causes and treatment of sexual abuse and I have fully implemented in my pastoral region the archdiocese's policies and procedures for reporting abuse, screening those who supervise children and abuse prevention training for adults and children."
And from Bishop Mahoney (who also apologized back in 2007)
But now, I guess, he's "really" sorry?
Let's decipher a portion of his statement below the jump:
Sorry for getting caught
[excerpt from Monsignor Mahony's apology]Translation: We fought for years to keep this a secret but since we can't protect our own any longer, um who got hurt? Oh yeah, that's right, the children.
"With the upcoming release of priests’ personnel files in the Archdiocese’s long struggle with the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, my thoughts and prayers turn toward the victims of this sinful abuse."
But, when no one was looking, this is what he really believed:
I am very grateful to ·you and to your staff for the care and concern which you are giving Monsignor Garcia, and I feel strongly that it would not be possible for Monsignor Garcia to return to California and to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the foreseeable future. The two young men who were involved with him and their parents have switched·attorneys on several occasions, and I believe that if Monsignor Garcia were to reappear here within the Archdiocese we might very well have some type of legal action filed in both the criminal and civil sectors.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Roger Mahony
Archbishop of Los Angeles
cc: Most Reverend Juan Arzube
Most Reverend Robert F. Sanchez
Monsignor Thomas Curry
And, according to a letter from Monsignor Garcia himself, "Mahony instructed him to be 'very low key' and assured him 'no one was looking at him for any criminal action.'
Nowhere to hide
While the evidence being released currently is damning, once again we are faced with the issue of statute of limitations.
The time window for prosecuting obstruction of justice is 10 years and for conspiracy, it's three years after the last overt criminal act, said Lawrence Rosenthal, a criminal law professor at Chapman University School of Law.However, while they may not be judged in a court of law, these documents as well as the ones soon to be released, will no longer protect either the perpetrators OR those who conspired to conceal their crimes.
The files of dozens more accused priests are expected to be released in the coming weeks as part of a 2007 settlement agreement with more than 500 alleged victims. A judge recently ruled that the church must turn the files over to attorneys for those people without the names and titles of members of the church hierarchy blacked out after The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times intervened.I, for one, welcome this bright light shining on not only those who sexually abuse, but those who allow it to continue. As I've said from the very beginning of this, at the end of my initial interview on Dr. Laura:
Children cannot protect themselves. It is our duty to keep them safe. Speak up. I would rather say something and be uncomfortable, than say nothing and risk losing another child. No matter what, always protect the child. If any of those involved had said something, they would be hailed a hero. Instead, they turned a blind eye. In my opinion, they are no better than the perpetrator himself..