Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles Orchestrated a Systematic Cover-Up of Sexual Abuse; NPR's Breaking Report



     NPR reports:
     In 1986, Cardinal Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles, found out that Baker had been abusing boys from an impeccable source: the priest himself. Baker told Mahony that he had molested two boys, beginning in 1978. According to Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese, Mahony responded the way everyone did back then.  "Cardinal Mahony decided to handle it pastorally," says Tamberg, "and thought the thing to do would be to make sure that Michael Baker got the kind of treatment he needed and the help he needed so that he could make himself whole again."
     After six months of treatment, Baker was put in restricted ministry. Tamberg says Baker did only administrative work. He was supposed to have no contact with children and was theoretically monitored by other priests. But over the next 14 years, Baker was moved to nine different parishes, several of which had elementary schools adjacent to the rectory. 
     "Why is it the church's job to monitor them?" wonders plaintiffs attorney Lynne Cadigan. "Why doesn't he be monitored in jail or prison like any other person?"
     Cadigan represents two brothers who say Baker began molesting them in 1984, when they were 5 and 7 years old. The boys had no father at home, and the priest babysat them while their mother went to work. When they moved to Mexico, Baker visited them, took them on trips and helped arrange for them to move to Tucson, Ariz., where he was a frequent guest. All that time he was theoretically being monitored by the archdiocese.  "Baker obviously wasn't monitored," Cadigan says.
    Another case in which Mahony covered for the abusive Father Baker:
     One of the cases that went before the board involved a new allegation against Baker. In 1994, Baker had befriended a 14-year-old boy named Luis, who served as an altar boy at St. Columbkille parish in Los Angeles. According to Luis' attorney, John Manly, the sexual molestation began immediately after the two met. One day in 1996, the Rev. Timothy Dyer, who was supposed to be monitoring Baker, spotted the boy in the rectory.
     "Father Dyer came home to St. Columbkille and found Luis upstairs in the living area coming out of Baker's room," Manly says. "Father Dyer had an obligation to report. He didn't report."
     Archdiocese spokesman Tamberg says the church wasn't legally obligated to call the police because priests were not mandated reporters until a year later. The church notified neither the police nor the parish. The archdiocese did conduct an investigation.
     The Cardinal's right-hand-man, the vicar of clergy, had a meltdown during a 2009 deposition, in which he blamed Mahony for the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:
     Richard Loomis, the vicar for clergy, felt something had to be done about Baker. In a 2009 deposition obtained by NPR, Loomis told Luis' attorney that he suggested the police be called.
     "Did they do that?" Manly asked.
     "No," Loomis responded.
     "Who did you suggest that to?"
     "To the cardinal," Loomis said.
     Describing the deposition to NPR later, Manly said that Loomis "flipped" right in the middle of the deposition.  "You know, how you used to see on Perry Mason or A Few Good Men, when someone actually flips on the stand? It just doesn't happen. And here it did," Manly said.
     Later in the deposition, Loomis said he suggested that the archdiocese should alert all the parishes about Baker's activities, in case there were other victims. Again, the cardinal declined.
     Concerning 68 emails implicating Mahony in the cover-up for and enabling of sexually abusive priests NPR reports:
     In one [email], dated March 27, 2002, Mahony notes that the church has not reported three of the eight most abusive priests, one of whom was Baker. Mahony worries that if the district attorney finds this out, "I can guarantee you that I will get hauled into a grand jury proceeding and I will be forced to give all the names."
     And in another message dated April 1, 2008, Mahony suggests that the archdiocese issue a statement saying it cannot release the names or numbers of accused priests while the government is investigating. "Since that is weeks and months down the road, I hope interest would have waned by then," Mahony writes.
     When will the Roman Catholic bishops, who have colluded to protect sexually abusive priests finally stand criminal trial?

1 comment:

truthspew said...

I'm not sure how one gets to be a Bishop or higher rank in the church. I suppose you have to kiss some papal ass at some point or another.

But they all knew what the score was even when they were common parish priests.

The cover up is systemic in nature. The entire hierarchy is tainted at this point.