May 20, 2005

Church Abuse Case: Documents illuminate Calif. diocese attitude

The Monitor

May 20,2005
The Monitor View

The Rio Grande Valley, like other parts of the United States, has seen allegations of clergy members preying on members of their congregations. And South Texas, as elsewhere, has also encountered Roman Catholic Church officials more concerned with sweeping such incidents under the rug than with justice and preventing further crimes.

So itís interesting to read about church documents released as part of a settlement of a sexual abuse lawsuit in Orange County, Calif.

As expected, many of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orangeís once- secret personnel files were released on Tuesday, and the facts inside the files prove what church critics have long argued: Church leaders knew about priests who had molested and raped children, yet they continued to let them serve as priests where they could continue to prey on the youngest, most vulnerable members of the community.

Orange Bishop Tod Brown called the documents "painful testimony" and earlier responses by the diocese "inadequate and failed."

Even when the diocese had to face up to its actions and inaction, officials there downplayed what they knew. "The files show that diocesan officials knew that at least three priests they accepted to work in Orange County had previously been in trouble for sexual abuse of children in other dioceses," the Orange County Register reported.

Posted by kshaw at May 20, 2005 06:01 AM