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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,fo BS: Catholic Bishop and Priest Scandal (132* d) RE: BS: Catholic Bishop and Priest Scandal 06 Apr 02

This is getting UGLIER by the hour. Friday 04/05/02v

A series of recent confidential e-mails written by Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony paints a picture of a sometimes-agitated archbishop alarmed that he is losing public relations ground in the sexual abuse scandal.

The e-mails, leaked to radio station KFI, which provided copies to The Times, show how pervasively the nationwide child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has affected the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Mahony and his inner circle are forced to confront where to place a priest newly accused of molesting children; whether the church should start a victims group; how to anticipate and counteract media accusations; how to give "instruction" in child-abuse law to Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks, and how many weeks or months must pass before a "healing" process in the church begins.

Much of the communication focuses on the archdiocese's scramble to cut public relations losses amid growing demands that Mahony disclose the names of all priests he had fired for molesting minors.

In one case, a top Mahony advisor recommends that the cardinal remain deliberately vague about where eight priests served before Mahony fired them in February. While Mahony told The Times in a separate interview that none of the priests were in parish ministries, the e-mail from Msgr. Craig Cox, vicar for clergy, says that some did serve on a part-time basis in parishes.

The e-mails also show Mahony and his inner circle attempting to promptly cooperate with police on new allegations of sexual abuse by priests. The communications also reveal that:

* A Fresno woman has made a "claim" against Mahony, and that a 40-page transcript is in the hands of the Fresno Police Department. The Times on Friday was told by Fresno police Lt. Keith Foster that his department is investigating an accusation involving Mahony. Mahony was auxiliary bishop of Fresno beginning in 1975 and it was unclear whether he was accused of failing to deal with an offense of another priest, or was directly involved in the alleged incident.

* Mahony was so agitated by the archdiocese's failure to turn over some names of several dismissed priests to police that he warned his general counsel that he might be subpoenaed by a grand jury.

"If we don't, today, "consult" with the [detective] about those three names, I can guarantee you that I will get hauled into a Grand Jury proceeding and I will be forced to give all the names, etc.," Mahony wrote to Sister Judy Murphy.

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