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fun with the LA files

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 12, 2005

Why is it, anyway, that plaintiffs' lawyers detected a self-interested hand in the editing process that led the Los Angeles archdiocese to produce some personnel files on priests accused of sexual abuse?

Raymond P. Boucher, the lead lawyer for those suing the church, said the versions of the files released by the church were cleansed of much of the damaging details of the accusations and the church's response. Their release was chiefly a public relations move by the church as both sides prepared for the first cases to go to trial, Mr. Boucher said.

"Unfortunately, these files do not contain the full story of the participation by the church in the manipulation and movement of these priests," he said. "The full files would show how deep and pervasive this problem was and how much the church put its own interests ahead of those of the children and others who were molested by the priests. That is a broader and deeper story."

The files reveal that only recently did the church come to grips with the abusive and criminal behavior in its ranks and act aggressively to contain it.

Fun with files is one of the themes of Cardinal Mahony's episcopate, as evidenced by Ron Russell's May 2002 New Times article concerning his meeting with the parents of a victim of Fathers Ted Llanos:

Paul and Sue Griffith concluded [the archdiocese saw victims as little more than a nuisance] upon sitting down for an hourlong meeting with Mahony in his L.A. chancery office in the spring of 1995. "He struck me as arrogant," says Paul Griffith, referring to Mahony. "It was as if he was doing us a favor to even talk to us." By then, they had been informed by a sympathetic (and well-placed) source within the archdiocese about a meeting the cardinal had attended with several of his underlings to discuss the Llanos affair. At that meeting, they were told, Mahony had acknowledged Llanos' troubled history and declared that he would never turn over the priest's secret personnel file to the plaintiffs, as they were demanding. The Griffiths say they confronted Mahony with his alleged words about the file and that the cardinal acknowledged having made such a statement, but insisted that it was meant in the context of protecting victims' privacy. "He then held up what he purported was Father Ted's file in front of us and said, "See, there's nothing in it,' as if we would be impressed," Sue Griffith recalls. "It really was quite a disappointing performance."

For your own look at the edited files (a 155-page PDF document), go here.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Paulo581 - Oct. 12, 2005 9:43 PM ET USA

    The bishops that covered up the sexual crimes with minors committed by priests in their dioceses have the greater responsibility for the awful scandal and damage to the Church that has resulted from it. This failure of the bishops appears to be so widespread that the Vatican is not publicly correcting any of them. Was the Vatican aware of how the bishops were dealing with their sexually abusive priests throughout all those years? Are these bishops absolute rulers with little accountability to the Church for their actions? Something needs to be done so that we can be proud of our bishops again.

  • Posted by: benedictusoblatus - Oct. 12, 2005 1:31 PM ET USA

    "The full files would show how deep and pervasive this problem was and how much the church put its own interests ahead of those of the children and others who were molested by the priests. That is a broader and deeper story." Actually the interests of the Church and "children and others" coincide. They always have. The Church is not the villian here. It is leaders of the Church who have betrayed their Spouse and brought scandal and infamy upon the priesthood and the Church at large.

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