Finally, the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has removed Cardinal Roger Mahony, a top clergyman linked to efforts to conceal child abuse, “as it released thousands [of] files [on] priests accused of molesting children,” The Guardian reports.
The 12,000 pages of files were made public more than a week after church records pertaining to 14 priests were released as part of another civil suit revealing that church officials worked to hide the abuse from law enforcement as late as 1987.
“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading,” Archbishop Jose Gomez said after relieving Mahony, his predecessor, of all public and administrative duties. “The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil,” Gomez said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
Mahony’s former top aide, Thomas Curry, stepped down from his position as bishop of Santa Barbara as well.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
The documents showed that Mahony, 76, and Curry, 70, both worked to send priests accused of abuse out of the state to shield them from scrutiny.
A spokesman for a victims’ support group said that the removal of Mahony and Curry was long overdue and a small step after the church spent years fighting to protect them.
“Hand-slapping Mahony is a nearly meaningless gesture,” said David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. “When he had real power, and abused it horribly, he should have been demoted or disciplined by the church hierarchy, in Rome and in the US. But not a single Catholic cleric anywhere had the courage to even denounce him. Shame on them,” he said.
Mahony and Curry also tried to keep priests sent away to a church-run paedophile treatment centre from later revealing their misconduct to private therapists who would be obliged to report the crimes to police, the documents showed.
Cardinal Roger Mahony in 2007.