Via the Associated Press, more venality, subterfuge, and malefaction from the Catholic Connoisseurs of Choirboys:
When Los Angeles police were investigating allegations of child abuse by a Roman Catholic priest in 1988, they asked for a list of altar boys at the last parish where the priest worked. Archbishop Roger Mahony told a subordinate not to give the list, saying he didn’t want the boys to be scarred by the investigation and that he felt the altar boys were too old to be potential victims, according to a deposition made public on Wednesday.
The detectives investigating allegations against Nicolás Aguilar Rivera, a visiting Mexican priest, ultimately got the names of the boys from parish families. They determined that the priest molested at least 26 boys in his 10 months in Los Angeles, according to the priest’s confidential archdiocese file and police records made public by attorneys for the victims.
Mahony’s deposition was obtained by the Associated Press and is part of the evidence included in a settlement of abuse claims against Aguilar Rivera and four other priests. The archdiocese, the nation’s largest, agreed to pay $13m to 17 victims.
Since 2006, the archdiocese has paid more than $700m to settle clergy abuse lawsuits by hundreds of victims. Internal church files kept on priests accused of abuse were released last year under court order. They showed that Mahony, who was elevated to cardinal and retired in 2011, maneuvered behind the scenes with his top aide, Monsignor Thomas Curry, to shield priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark.
Although a judge found a Kansas City bishop guilty last year of failing to notify the authorities of child abuse, CBS has the sobering news that none of the high-ranking monsignors on either U.S. Coast coast are likely to face the music:
With only a three- to five-year period to bring obstruction of justice charges after a crime — depending on a federal or state court venue — it’s unlikely [Mahoney] or other church administrators would face charges now for cases that date back more than a decade, said Lawrence Rosenthal, a criminal law professor at Chapman University and a former prosecutor.
As for Rev. Nicolás Aguilar Rivera, whose alleged proclivity to rape underage boys was of such ecclesiastical importance that Mahony personally thwarted the police investigation, he
… fled to his native Mexico in January 1988 after Mahony’s top aide, Monsignor Thomas Curry, tipped him off about parent complaints and warned that the church would call police. Aguilar Rivera, who was 46 at the time, remains a fugitive.
A longstanding list from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis of 33 priests “credibly accused” of sexual abuse was incomplete, with the actual number of accused or suspected priests more than twice the official [church] count, Minnesota Public Radio News reported Wednesday.
MPR reported that its investigation found that the archdiocese dealt with allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse involving at least 70 clergy members since 1950. The station posted a searchable database on them. The priests served in nearly every parish of the archdiocese, according to MPR, which based its own list on a review of other lists compiled by church officials, court records, private settlements, police reports and hundreds of internal church documents.
At some point,
Church officials … stopped writing lists [of abusing priests] for fear they would have to be disclosed in lawsuits, said Jennifer Haselberger, a former canon lawyer for the archdiocese who resigned last April in protest of its handling of clergy sexual misconduct.
The failure to disclose the information led parishioners to believe for more than a decade that the clergy abuse crisis was not as widespread as the media had reported. Top church officials boasted about the number as proof that the archdiocese was among the safest in the nation. The lack of transparency also reduced the risk that a victim might recognize a priest’s name and file a lawsuit.
It’s cool though, because there’s no crime so great that God won’t forgive it in exchange for another peroration of professed piety.
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