L.A. POLICE TO REVIEW NEW CLERGY ABUSE FILES
Detectives will review recently released clergy abuse files from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to see if there’s evidence of criminal activity by church authorities, including failure to report child abuse to law enforcement, police officials said Tuesday.
Investigators will focus on the cases of about a dozen previously investigated priests and are auditing those past probes to make sure nothing was missed, said Cmdr. Andrew Smith. The department will also look at the files for all 122 priests that were made public Thursday by court order after the archdiocese fought for five years to keep them sealed, he said.
Thousands of pages of secret confidential files kept by the archdiocese on priests accused of molesting children show recently retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top archdiocese officials shielded priests to protect the church, thwarted police investigations and repeatedly did not report child sex abuse to the authorities.
The files of another 14 priests were published by the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press last month and revealed a similar cover-up.
“Now what’s being alleged is a failure to report, those kinds of things, so there’s a new emphasis — it’s not just the person that’s accused of the behavior, but if it’s also if it was not properly reported,” said Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, who heads the detective bureau.
“We’re taking a fresh look on cases we’ve already handled to make sure we don’t have reporting issues that got past,” he said.
Michael Hennigan, an archdiocese attorney, declined to comment Tuesday.
Mahony, who retired in 2011 as head of the nation’s largest diocese, was publicly rebuked Friday by his successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez.
The same day, Bishop Thomas Curry, a top Mahony aide who made critical decisions on abusive priests, requested to resign from his post as an auxiliary bishop in charge of the archdiocese’s Santa Barbara region. Curry was vicar for clergy in the mid-1980s, a position created to handle priestly discipline and other personnel issues.
Both Mahony and Curry have publicly apologized for their handling of pedophile priests.
The archdiocese is considering launching a $200 million fundraising campaign in the midst of the fallout from the clergy files, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. A recent financial report indicates the archdiocese has a deficit of nearly $80 million.