Catholic priest child sex abuse files released, at last, by LA archdiocese

After years of legal battles, The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has grudgingly released files on priests accused of sexually abusing children. An announcement from the church about the document dump is here (PDF). You can browse the files yourself at clergyfiles.la-archdiocese.org.

Reuters: "The 12,000 pages of files were made public more than a week after church records relating to 14 priests were unsealed as part of a separate civil suit, showing that church officials plotted to conceal the molestation from law enforcement as late as 1987."

Scanned documents from church files on each of the priests known to have molested children are here, listed in alpha order of the each priest's name. Major trigger warning. They include explicit accounts of abuse testimony, and in some cases, letters of denial from officials within the church.

The Archdiocese this week also removed Cardinal Roger Mahony from his duties, for his role in enabling and keeping quiet the methodical and widespread molestation. The removal is "unprecedented," but many victims and advocates believe Mahony deserves greater punishment. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Curry, who helped Mahony hide abusers from police in the eighties, has resigned his post as regional bishop in Santa Barbara, CA.

The current Archbishop of Los Angeles issued this statement on the documents release (PDF).

I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. 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.

Too bad hell isn't real. More from the Los Angeles Times on how these files show new evidence of attempts by Curry and Mahony to block police investigations:

In a 1988 memo about Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera, a Mexican priest accused of molesting more than 20 boys during a nine-month stay in Los Angeles, Curry expressed a desire to keep a list of parish altar boys from investigators.

"The whole issue of our records is a very sensitive one, and I am reluctant to give any list to the police," Curry wrote.

At the bottom of the memo, Mahony replied: "We cannot give such a list for no cause whatsoever."

The police charged Aguilar-Rivera, but after receiving a warning from Curry, he went to Mexico. He remains a fugitive.

Here's Aguilar-Rivera's file (PDF). There are tens of thousands more documents where that came from.

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