US Cardinal ‘tried to cover up abuse'23 January 2013
US Cardinal Roger Mahony and his top adviser on priestly sex abuse collaborated to hide sexual crimes committed by clergy from police as late as 1987, newly released confidential church papers reveal.
Cardinal Mahony, 76, the retired archbishop of the vast archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Mgr Thomas Curry, 70, worked with other church officials in 1987 to send accused priests away to avoid prosecution, the LA Times reported on Monday.
The pair also tried to keep priests who had abused from confessing their crimes to therapists who would be obliged to report them, the newspaper said. The records were made public as part of a civil lawsuit.
Mgr Curry, now an auxiliary bishop in LA, suggested in 1987 they send an abusive priest to "a lawyer who is also a psychiatrist" to put the priest's "reports under the protection of privilege", the LA Times reported.
The records also show that in 1986 the cardinal told the director of a treatment centre in New Mexico from which self-confessed serial abuser Mgr Peter Garcia was to be discharged that Garcia should stay away from California, saying that if he returned to the archdiocese, "we might very well have some type of legal action filed in both the criminal and civil sectors".
In a statement published on the LA Times website this week, Cardinal Mahony said: "I am sorry". He said he did not realise the "full and lasting impact" of clerical sex abuse until he began meeting victims in 2006.
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