May 25, 2005

Efforts revealed to cure priests

The Orange County Register

The Orange County Register

Psychotherapists and clinics that treated sexually abusive Catholic priests in the 1980s and 1990s routinely declared that priests were ready to return to service, long-secret documents released late Tuesday by the Diocese of Orange show.

In some cases, the priests went on to sexually abuse again, according to lawsuits settled by the church.

"After a period of reluctance and resistance, Father (Eleuterio) Ramos was able and willing to work through his emotional difficulties of a sexual nature. During the last year, he was capable of controlling his impulses completely," Dr. Klaus D. Hoppe of the Hacker Clinic in Los Angeles wrote to Bishop William Johnson in 1982. Hoppe could not be reached late Tuesday.

Ramos was returned to ministry by the diocese. According to lawsuits settled by the church earlier this year, he would again molest boys in 1983, 1984 and 1985. Ramos died in 2004.

In all, the Diocese of Orange has settled with 15 alleged Ramos victims for more than $16.6 million.

The documents released Tuesday are part of a record-setting $100 million settlement reached earlier this year between the Diocese of Orange and 90 Catholic men and women who alleged they were sexually abused as children by Orange County priests, nuns, brothers or laypeople. As part of the settlement, the diocese agreed to release certain documents it had already showed to plaintiffs' attorneys during mediation. Two weeks ago, the church filed a brief attempting to withdraw some of the documents, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman refused.

Posted by kshaw at May 25, 2005 06:43 AM