Monday, January 21, 2013

Catholic Church Leaders Sought to Hide Sex Abuse Cases from Police

Cardinal Roger Mahony, seen at a 2007 trial of a case involving sexual abuse by priests, wrote memos in 1986 and 1987 that offer the strongest evidence yet of a concerted effort by archdiocese officials to shield abusers from police. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / July 16, 2007)
The foul cesspool that is the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy seems to be becoming even more vile and stench ridden.  Or more accurately, with every passing day we simply learn more about the past strenuous efforts to obstruct justice and protect predator priests by high members of the Church hierarchy.  All orchestrated no doubt from the Vatican.  One has to truly wonder when criminal indictments will finally be handed down.  Likewise, one has to wonder when rank and file Catholics will open their eyes and stop financially supporting a criminal conspiracy.  The latest bombshell is from the Los Angeles Times which is reporting that  some fifteen years before the clergy sex abuse scandal in Boston exploded, Los Angeles Archbishop Roger M. Mahony and a top adviser plotted to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement officials.  If you or I did this, we'd be on our way to prison.  Here are highlights on the latest revelations which I personally find to be confirmation of past suspicions: 

Fifteen years before the clergy sex abuse scandal came to light, Archbishop Roger M. Mahony and a top advisor plotted to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement, including keeping them out of California to avoid prosecution, according to internal Catholic church records released Monday.

The archdiocese's failure to purge pedophile clergy and reluctance to cooperate with law enforcement has previously been known. But 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.

In the confidential letters, filed this month as evidence in a civil court case, Curry proposed strategies to prevent police from investigating three priests who had admitted to church officials that they abused young boys. Curry suggested to Mahony that they prevent them from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and that they give the priests out-of-state assignments to avoid criminal investigators.

One such case that has previously received little attention is that of Msgr. Peter Garcia, who admitted preying for decades on undocumented children in predominantly Spanish-speaking parishes. After Garcia's discharge from a New Mexico treatment center for pedophile clergy, Mahony ordered him to stay away from California "for the foreseeable future" in order to avoid legal accountability, the files show. 

[I]n a letter to Mahony about bringing Garcia back to work in the archdiocese, Curry said he was worried that victims in Los Angeles might see the priest and call police.  "[T]here are numerous — maybe twenty — adolescents or young adults that Peter was involved with in a first degree felony manner. The possibility of one of these seeing him is simply too great," Curry wrote in May 1987.

Garcia was never prosecuted and died in 2009. The files show he admitted to a therapist that he had sexually abused boys "on and off" since his 1966 ordination. He assured church officials his victims were unlikely to come forward because of their immigration status. In at least one case, according to a church memo, he threatened to have a boy he had raped deported if he went to police.

Curry did not return calls seeking comment. He currently serves as the archdiocese's auxiliary bishop for Santa Barbara.

The confidential files of at least 75 more accused abusers are slated to become public in coming weeks under the terms of a 2007 civil settlement with more than 500 victims. A private mediator had ordered the names of the church hierarchy redacted from those documents, but after objections from The Times and the Associated Press, a Superior Court judge ruled that the names of Mahony, Curry and others in supervisory roles should not be blacked out.

The records show that sex abuse allegations were handled almost exclusively by the archbishop and his vicar. Memos that crossed their desks included graphic details, such as one letter from another priest accusing Garcia of tying up and raping a young boy in Lancaster.

There is much more in the article that is worth reading disgusting as it may be.  It is crucial that the Church hierarchy be criminally prosecuted for the horrors that they aided and abetted.  It is also crucial, in my view, that the Catholic laity be forced to face the reality that they are financing a criminal enterprises.  They need to cease all further financial donations to the Church in any form until the hierarchy is completely rid of all who participated in these criminal conspiracies, including the current Pope and many sitting cardinals.  Catholics who don't cease financing these monsters are little better than monsters like Mahony and Curry.

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