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Two Top Priests in LA Archdiocese Removed from Posts for Aiding Cover-Up of Sex Abuse Charges

Feb 1, 2013

Los Angeles’ Archbishop has taken an unprecedented step and announced that he is removing his predecessor from all his public duties because of the role he took in covering up decades of clergy sex abuse against children.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote to parishioners this week that he has relieved Cardinal Roger Mahony of all public duties, meaning he won’t be able to perform confirmations, and that another top church official within the Los Angeles archdiocese has resigned. Gomez says he took the action after records showed that Mahony and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry actively participated in a cover-up to protect priests from criminal prosecution for their roles in hiding allegations of sexual abuse against the church.

The church spent the last two weeks posting thousands of pages of personnel files on its Web site detailing abuse allegations against 122 priests. The priests had been accused of molesting children within the church and Mahony and Curry were each responsible in keeping these allegations secret.

Gomez penned a letter to be read before parishioners this week. In it he writes, “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. I cannot undo the failings of the past that we find in these pages. Reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused has been the saddest experience I've had since becoming your Archbishop in 2011.”

Mahony and Curry were behind the active cover-up of accused sexually abusive priests within Los Angeles archdiocese for at least 25 years. In the last two weeks, more evidence has become public which shows these two officials sought assignments for accused priests in other states so they may avoid prosecution. They also sought to keep these priests from seeking counseling so it would not alert authorities to their crimes.

The news served to refresh memories of the decades of sexual abuse that was hidden by the Catholic Church in the U.S. in which hundreds of priests have been accused of molesting children. Many have avoided criminal prosecution but the church has paid millions of dollars in civil penalties to those who claimed they were abused by priests within the church.

Mahony and Curry are the latest officials to take the fall for their roles in the conspiracy but the condemnation from Gomez does not prevent them from serving the church altogether, even though this week’s decision is considered unprecedented. While Mahony may not be able to perform confirmations, he will be able to celebrate mass with his congregation at a North Hollywood church. He can also vote for a new pope, should the situation arise, and is still considered a “priest in good standing” among the church.

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