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a question of credibility

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Oct 07, 2006

The New York Times reports on a documentary film dealing with pedophile and ex-priest Oliver O'Grady and his superior, then-Bishop of Stockton (CA) Roger Mahony. O'Grady, a slimeball, has cheerfully confessed to his perversities and, somewhat less cheerfully, insisted that Mahony knew about his crimes and kept him in pastoral work all the same. So, who's telling the truth?

Cardinal Mahony, who was the bishop in Stockton from 1980 to 1985, when he was appointed archbishop of Los Angeles, has disputed Mr. O’Grady’s account of events. His spokesman, Tod Tamberg, said Mr. O’Grady’s comments in the documentary were not believable.

“The film rests on the credibility of a convicted child molester who lied to his bishop, to his therapists, to the families of the young people he abused and to law enforcement,” Mr. Tamberg said. “He is the classic pedophile. He lies to conceal his activity from public view.”

OK, at least one of the two principals is lying here. Tamberg is surely right about O'Grady's past, but he doesn't suggest a motive for him to continue lying in the present. What does he stand to gain by falsely implicating his former bishop? If O'Grady's allegations are true, on the other hand, what the bishop in question stands to gain by denial is obvious. After all, the same jurors who were convinced of O'Grady's depravity (and who didn't see the film in question) were less than impressed by Mahony's own testimony, as recounted in Ron Russell's New Times article of September 2002:

In a 1998 civil trial, a Stockton jury awarded two of O'Grady's victims, Joh and James Howard, a $30 million judgment. It was later reduced to $7 million. The verdict was a clear repudiation of Mahony's testimony as the trial's reluctant star witness. Although not directly on trial, he may as well have been. His elusive and legalistic testimony about his handling of O'Grady was a disaster. Several jurors interviewed by New Times say that no one on the 12-member panel believed Mahony about key aspects of the case. After the trial, a female juror -- a lifelong Catholic -- broke down in sobs as she explained her conclusion that the cardinal had lied.

Archbishops don't lie, my dear. They have memory lapses.

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Show 8 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2006 3:28 PM ET USA

    If Mahony did not lie in his testimony and it can be written off as a memory failure, then he has the world greatest case of Alzheimer's

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Oct. 08, 2006 2:29 PM ET USA

    Wouldn't a true statement like: "I was wrong. I was ashamed of my fellow priest and his perversion. It reflected badly on him and on the priesthood. Moved more by fear of public discovery and shame than by justice and the paternal responsibility I have for the youth of this diocese I sinned..." be much better? Of course that should be followed by: " I hereby resign my episcopal office, future correspondence should be sent to the Trapist monastery in Portland."

  • Posted by: - Oct. 08, 2006 12:08 PM ET USA

    Cornelius, I'm sure the woman just assumed that a man who had acheived such a high office in the Church would be fulfilling his Christian duty to tell the truth, especially in such a shameful matter. Apparently, she's not familiar with the good Cardinal's failures in this arena.

  • Posted by: Cornelius - Oct. 08, 2006 7:17 AM ET USA

    . . . a female juror . . . broke down in sobs as she explained her conclusion that the cardinal had lied." What in the world (or out of the world) induced this foolish person to conclude that Cardinals are impeccable?

  • Posted by: Sterling - Oct. 08, 2006 12:35 AM ET USA

    Let me get this straight - the bishop found this child molester believable and so moves him around to molest more kids. Later, this bishop insists no one else should listen to this same man, because, as it should be obvious to all, since he's a child molester, he's not believable. Why am I reminded of the lawyer who said we should go easy on the teen who killed his parents because now he's an orphan?

  • Posted by: opraem - Oct. 08, 2006 12:24 AM ET USA

    you wonder where's the pope's tipping point for mahony's misdeeds. the number of 'bad' auxiliary bishops (13), the unsurprising lack of vocations in the nation's largest archdiocese, the record number of sex abuse lawsuits (562), of which 480 occured during his eminence's term of office and this film which shows him to be a liar in court. and that's not to mention liturgical abuses and lost souls that can only be estimated. he needs our prayers, but B16 needs a spine to deal with roger.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 07, 2006 4:22 PM ET USA

    Looking at the Cardinal's history, you see slime everywhere you go. He appointed Father Pat Zieman rector of the HIGH SCHOOL seminary.Later he became bishop of Santa Rosa where he defiled the sacrament of Holy Orders by ordaining his gay lover who had no qualifications. There has still been no accounting of the millions stolen there-Levada was in charge of the cover up. Zieman, Levada, Niederauer and Tod No Kneeling Brown all part of the inner circle of Mahonistas.

  • Posted by: Linus682 - Oct. 07, 2006 12:43 PM ET USA

    "Bless me father for I had a Memory Lapse"

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