April 20, 2006

The passion of the court

Pasadena Weekly

By André Coleman

The day after Easter, the otherwise joyous mood around the Archdiocese of Los Angeles turned sour after the US Supreme Court declined to hear Cardinal Roger M. Mahony’s request to keep secret the files of two priests whom authorities suspect of molestation, a decision that could open the floodgates for more civil litigation against the Catholic Church and, some Church critics hope, leave Mahony open to criminal prosecution.

Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, called the high court’s decision not to hear Mahony’s plea to keep the files of ex-priests George Miller and Michael Baker out of the hands of the grand jury investigating sexual misconduct by priests “disappointing.”

However, Tamberg, who was contacted at his Los Angeles office but declined to speak on the record, referred all comment to a prepared statement, which states the ruling “will have no effect on the ongoing efforts of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to settle the civil cases through mediation.”

Critics of the Church, Mahony and his handling of the sex-abuse scandal, on the other hand, were elated with the court’s decision.

“We are grateful that the nation's highest court, like so many California courts, is telling the cardinal to abide by the laws of the land,” said Mary Grant, head of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. “We are encouraged that, once again, Mahony has been rebuffed in his desperate and ongoing drive to create a law unto himself.”

Posted by kshaw at April 20, 2006 07:22 AM