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Sex Abuse Scandal Strikes Close to Home at St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood

Cardinal Roger Mahony is under fire for his handling of sex abuse cases in Los Angeles under his watch, and calls the church his home parish.

One day after the release of personnel files of priests accused of sexual misconduct, victims of clergy abuse will push the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles Friday to continue investigating the problem.

The diocese on Thursday released files on more than 100 clergy members, and Archbishop Jose Gomez said his predecessor—former Archbishop Roger Mahony —will "no longer have any administrative or public duties." Meanwhile, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, Mahony's former top adviser on sex-abuse issues, stepped down as Santa Barbara's regional bishop.

Mahony went to school at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, launched his rise to cardinal there and retired to live there, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The Daily News visited the parish on Friday and reported there was no mention of the scandal during mass, but that many parishoners expressed a wide array of emotions to the news.

"I think Mahony should not be allowed to participate in public service," said Betty Simmons, 76, of Toluca Lake, according to the story. "The rest of us are punished; he should be, too. He did terrible things. I'm sure his conscience is killing him."

Mahony publicly addressed the scandal for the first time when he posted letter he sent to Gomez on his blog Friday. In the letter he claims he was unprepared to deal with sex abuse issues involving the church and that he did all he could to protect children.

"Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem... I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s. I apologized for those mistakes, and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone," Mahony wrote.

Joelle Casteix of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP and their supporters held news conference outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to discuss the issue, insisting that it was only through legal action and continued pressure by victims that the church finally took action.

"We suggest that Bishop Gomez do more from here and not treat what happened yesterday as the end of the line on this," Casteix told City News Service. "We want him to help support more police investigations into sexual abuse. For us, this is the beginning, not the end."

Gomez noted Thursday that diocese officials have apologized for actions of the past and taken wide-ranging steps to prevent abuse and report it quickly if it does occur.

The files released Thursday included the names of priests, culminating years of legal wrangling over whether names should be redacted from the paperwork.

"The 2013 public release of the files of clergy who were subject of the 2007 global settlement concludes a sad and shameful chapter in the history of our local church," according to a diocese statement announcing the release of the files. "In the 2004 Report to the People of God and elsewhere, the archdiocese acknowledged and apologized for failing to treat victims of abuse with compassion, as well as for employing what we now know to be inadequate standards for treatment and supervision of priests who were found to have abused children and young people."

According to the diocese's website, 124 files were released, with 82 containing information on allegations of childhood sexual abuse. The remaining files contain "proffers," which are summaries compiled in anticipation of litigation.

The files, which contain roughly 12,000 pages, were made available online at http://clergyfiles.la-archdiocese.org.

A Los Angeles judge had originally ruled that the diocese could redact the name of priests and church leaders from the personnel files, but that decision was later reversed by a different judge. Despite some last-minute legal jockeying, the diocese agreed to include names in the files.

The diocese released them within hours of that decision.

The diocese reached a $660 million settlement in 2007 with about 500 alleged victims. As part of that settlement, the diocese agreed to release the personnel files of clergy accused of abuse.

Some of the files were released last week in connection with a separate civil case. That paperwork showed evidence of Mahony and Curry discussing ways to prevent law enforcement from learning about molestations of children more than a decade before the abuses became public knowledge.

Gomez issued a statement saying that while the files document abuses that occurred decades ago, "that does not make them less serious."

"I find these files to be brutal and painful reading," he said. "The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. 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."

 

Br. Christopher Sale B.P.P. February 02, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Mahony has fail to grasp the magnitude of damage he cause. He continues to acknowledge total accountability. The victims are suffering as well as the good men and women who play no role in this despicable sick minded behavior. The church as a whole is suffering and he continues to make one excuse after another. Mahony now claims he wasn't equipped with the proper training on how to handle a crisis like this. Excuse me Roger, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to pick up the phone and call the authorities. I'm a Catholic brother and I will continue to speak out and denounce Cardinal Mahony and his good old boys club. Mahony needs to pay the price. If he were truly sorry he would start by steping up to the plate and relinquishing his title. However Mahony's ego and arrogance is preventing this.As for those in church authority You can threaten all the disciplinary action on me you want. I will not remain silent.
Br. Christopher Sale B.P.P. February 02, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Sorry folks. I meant to say he continues to fail to accept total accountabilty.
Heather Amber Pollock February 03, 2013 at 05:29 AM
I dont think he will open his eyes till he is excommunicated! I feel so sorry for the victims.

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