May 18, 2005

Calif. Church files add to priest abuse scandal


Wed May 18, 2005 05:37 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Roman Catholic Church authorities in a Southern California diocese shuffled pedophile priests between parishes for two decades, according to personnel files released by a judge.

In what has become a familiar tale of cover-ups by the U.S. Catholic Church, the files of 15 priests and teachers painted a picture of secrecy and stonewalling over what mushroomed into a damaging nationwide priestly sex abuse scandal.

The files were ordered released by a Los Angeles judge late on Tuesday as part of a $100 million settlement -- one of the largest since the scandal broke in Boston in 2002 -- reached in January between the diocese of Orange and 90 alleged victims of molestation.

Five of the priests are dead. The 10 other priests and teachers raised no objection to the ruling.

Raymond Boucher, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the files revealed how the Orange diocese "helped to take a priest who had engaged in criminal conduct and move that priest from church to church, from diocese to diocese, and as a result, a significant number of lives have been destroyed."

Posted by kshaw at May 18, 2005 05:00 PM