October 12, 2005

Released Files Lead Priests' Accusers to Protest

The New York Times

Published: October 13, 2005
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12 - By releasing files on scores of priests accused of sexually molesting children, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles hoped to quiet critics who have accused it of stonewalling and to speed a settlement with 560 accusers in a civil suit.

But the disclosures on Tuesday instead provoked an outcry from those who say they were victimized by priests, accusations of a coverup from the district attorney who is pursuing criminal charges against several priests and promises from lawyers in the civil case to press their claims in court to gain full access to the church's personnel files.

The released documents show decades of priests' abuse of children, in some cases for years after church officials had been notified of the misconduct. The files show that only in the last few years did the church begin to take effective action.

The archdiocese, which has been led since 1985 by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, is hoping to put the problem to rest by settling 560 claims against it in a single action, avoiding individual trials that could bring years of lurid disclosures and yield hundreds of multimillion-dollar judgments.

Posted by kshaw at October 12, 2005 10:06 PM