March 14, 2005

Documents indicate church never probed abuse claim


Monday, March 14, 2005

Register Staff Writer

While hundreds of cases charging Catholic priests with sexual abuse work their way through the California courts, one stands out: The case that charges Monsignor Joseph Alzugaray, now head of St. Appolinaris Catholic Church in Napa, with sexually abusing a young girl in Los Angeles nearly 40 years ago.

The case is unusual in part because Alzugaray is vigorously battling the claims, going farther than other priests in California by filing a counter-suit against his accuser, Erin Brady.

Now, more than a year after the Southern California woman filed a lawsuit accusing Alzugaray of abuse, court documents obtained by the Register indicate the Catholic diocese in Los Angeles and Santa Rosa has never fully investigated claims that were first raised in 1993. Alzugaray and the church have said in their defense that Alzugaray had been cleared by several internal investigations.

Letters between church officials, church-generated psychological reports obtained by the Register, and testimony in the Brady-Alzugaray court case, show that Alzugaray has been subject to repeated psychological and other inquiries. But the church focused on Alzugaray's handling of church finances and on his decisions to transfer from one diocese to another.

Posted by kshaw at March 14, 2005 05:58 PM