New Documents Show Catholic Leaders in Los Angeles Protected Abusive Priests

PBS Newshour: Twelve thousand pages of records are being released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, documenting decades of child molestation and cover-ups. The documents revealed retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and his top aide’s efforts to conceal the molestations from authorities and shield priests accused of abuse.

Cardinal Jose Gomez, in a rare public rebuke of a top church official, stripped his predecessor Mahony of all public and administrative duties.

In 2007 the Los Angeles archdiocese reached a $660 million settlement in a civil suit brought by more than 500 victims of sexual abuse. Ray Boucher, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in that case, joined Ray Suarez to discuss these developments.

Boucher said that without a doubt these documents and files confirm that top church officials provided cover for accused priests in order to protect them from being criminally prosecuted. Because many of the crimes coming to light occurred over a decade ago, the victims may not be able to file a civil law suit, explained Boucher.

“This is an important and substantive glimpse into a very deep and dark and ongoing problem within the Catholic Church and, frankly, in society itself,” concluded Boucher. “But it’s simply a glimpse. It’s by no stretch of the imagination the full picture.”

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles was invited to join the conversation, but they were not available.