October 13, 2005

Release of files called a ploy

LA Daily News

Rachel Uranga and Rick Orlov, Staff Writers

The Los Angeles Archdiocese's surprise release of documents in the sexual-abuse scandal drew heated criticism Wednesday from prosecutors and some who say they were victims, while local priests and many parishioners maintained their support of the Catholic Church.

The archdiocese released 155 pages late Tuesday summarizing the activities of 126 accused priests - some dating back to the 1930s - in what a lawyer for church officials said is an effort to speed up settlement talks in civil lawsuits, bring closure to victims and restore the church's credibility among its members.

"We have a church that is embarrassed, contrite, ashamed of what happened in the past,'' Michael Hennigan, attorney for the archdiocese, said in a conference call with reporters. Now, he said, church officials are strongly committed to reform, and they regret how parishioners' allegations of rape and molestation used to be handled. It was in keeping with old practice, he said, to counsel priests so they could continue their ministry.

In the 1990s, as allegations of clerical abuse swept the nation, the Los Angeles Archdiocese and others adopted a zero-tolerance policy that requires the removal of priests who are the subject of credible accusations.

Posted by kshaw at October 13, 2005 09:00 AM