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LA Diocese Covered Up Sex Abuse for Decades

Court documents reveal decades of secrecy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2013 7:42 AM CST
LA Diocese Covered Up Sex Abuse for Decades
In this Sept. 22, 2007 file photo, Cardinal Roger Mahony speaks during an annual multi-ethnic migration Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

(Newser) – The Archdiocese of Los Angeles went to great lengths to cover up decades of child abuse among its priests, and details are emerging in extensive confidential records. Despite Cardinal Roger Mahony's private concerns about the problem, he avoided making it public and sometimes took years to defrock priests involved. In a statement yesterday, Mahony apologized, saying he prays regularly for the victims. Some 20 years earlier, he was offering moral support to the accused, the AP notes.

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Alleged abusers were directed to get treatment out of state, where their therapists weren't required to tell police about the offenses, an archdiocese lawyer says. In one case, a molesting priest warned the children of illegal immigrants to stay silent or he'd have them deported; in another, church leadership didn't report an abuser for days, giving him time to get out of the country, according to court documents. The files are part of a lawsuit being settled for $660 million; the settlement will publicize some 30,000 pages of similar documents. The AP has the full story. (Read more Los Angeles archdiocese stories.)

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