May 18, 2005

Files: Calif. diocese knew of allegations

Contra Costa Times

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Roman Catholic officials in Orange County knew for years of allegations of sexual misconduct against priests and lay workers but did little to warn parishioners or prevent future abuse, personnel files released Tuesday show.

The private personnel files of the 14 priests and one lay person were released by court order after a judge ruled the information could help the state protect children from abuse.

The hundreds of pages suggest the diocese knew as early as 30 years ago about alleged sexual misconduct among some of its clergy.

In many cases, priests were repeatedly referred for psychological treatment and counseling before finally being barred from the priesthood. Some were not barred but were sent instead to other dioceses.

The decision to release the documents was heralded by the priests' accusers, who reached a record-breaking $100 million settlement with the Orange County diocese in December after nearly two years of negotiations. As part of that agreement, the diocese agreed not to block release of files on accused priests and lay workers.

Posted by kshaw at May 18, 2005 05:06 AM