2013 February

Feb 01, 2013: Philadelphia Convictions Close the Corridor for Abusive Priests

Much like the layers of an onion which make you cry more with each successive layer, the convictions of Father Charles Englehardt, an Oblate of St. Francis DeSales priest, and Bernard Shero, a lay teacher, expose a painful and tangled conspiracy of abuse and silence that was previously covered by a thin veneer.  Independent orders of priests like the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales often operate in multiple jurisdictions and multiple dioceses allowing their perpetrators increased access to children and increased mobility to thwart public detection.  With multiple assignments working w…

Feb 01, 2013: Judge Orders Church to Release Full Priest Abuse Records

A trove of confidential church files detailing how the Los Angeles archdiocese dealt with priests accused of molestation must be released “as soon as possible” and include the names of Cardinal Roger Mahony and his aides, a judge ruled Thursday. In a written order, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Emilie H. Elias gave the church a Feb. 22 deadline to turn over about 30,000 pages of internal memos, psychiatric reports, Vatican correspondence and other documents. “Let’s just get it done,” Elias said in court Thursday. Her order brought to a close five and a half years of legal wranglin…

Feb 01, 2013: Priests’ Ecclesiastical Missteps Treated More Sternly Than Abuse

The archdiocese of Los Angeles learned in the late 1970s that one of its priests had sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy so violently that he was left bleeding and “in a state of shock.” The priest said he was too drunk to remember what happened and officials took no further action. But two decades later, word reached Cardinal Roger M. Mahony that the same priest was molesting again and improperly performing the sacrament of confession on his victim. The archdiocese sprang to action: It dispatched investigators, interviewed a raft of witnesses and discussed the harshest of all church penalti…

Feb 01, 2013: The Los Angeles Document Disclosure and Hierarch Resignations

While better late than never as the saying goes, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles today continued to preserve its own reputation at all costs. Simultaneous to releasing 12,000 damning documents that illustrate decades of concealment, cover up and deliberate, reckless disregard for the safety of children in the Archdiocese, the Archdiocese made public the resignation of Bishop Curry and Cardinal Mahony from any public ministry. After fighting in court against the release of these documents for over six years, it is incredibly disingenuous of the Archdiocese to now make news of the…