Catholic cardinal coddles the cops just like Scientology

5 Apr 2002

Garry <Garry_member@newsguy.com> writes:

Want to know why the LAPD and area law enforcemnent authorities refuse to investigate or look into Scientology practices? Well consider the Catholic Church in Los Angeles presided over by Cardinal Roger Mahoney, who has consistently claimed in media statements and interviews that he is cooperating fully with the police, but refuses to turn over the names of molester-priests to the police, and the response of the LAPD? Kiss the Cardinal's Ass.

Tony "The Finger" Ortega provides a very interesting look at what's going on behind Mahoney's frock in this week's NewTimes LA.



From newtimesla.com
Originally published by New Times L.A. Apr 04, 2002

The Finger

Cardinal Mahony's cooperating with the cops, and informing
the press, one table scrap at a time.

As told to Rick Barrs

Holy Spin Control!

Sometimes this digit's got to wonder if it's the only scribe in the City of Angels that our pontiff of perversion hasn't snookered over the pack of pedo-padres he's hiding under his gown.

The Finger means, it's nothing short of awe-inspiring to watch Cardinal Roger M. Mahony play members of big ol' L.A.'s fourth estate for the same kind of ink-stained suckers he used to double-deal back in his Stockton days.

Now, the L.A. Times, the Daily News and broadcast media have been bringing Angelenos whatever news tidbits the archbishop of avarice decides to dribble out. (See, the holy spin-control artist knows full well that you don't give a pack of dogs all the steak scraps at once. They'll just be howling for more, and you might get eaten. You keep them at bay by tossing one piece at a time into the backyard.)

So here's what the mainstream media's told us: The cardinal's let go of six to 12 pedophiliac priests because he's decided to enforce his "zero tolerance" policy against kiddie diddlers in dog collars that's been in effect since 1988. Mahony's passing around a pamphlet to schools and churches warning officials to be on the lookout for aberrant behavior by adults toward kids. The literature's part of a $5.2-million settlement last year in a sex-abuse case involving a pedo-priest in Orange County. Mahony's issued a letter to parish priests in which he condemns pedophilia in the priesthood and admits he has, indeed, dismissed "a few" problem priests. (Note that the number's gone from six to 12 to "a few.")

Mahony isn't complying with requests from the cops that the names of the dismissed priests be turned over to them. The cardinal stated in a Mass he won't release the names of the Father Feel-goods because it wouldn't be fair to their victims, but that he'll release any "new" cases to authorities. (Before we go on, The Finger's just got to ask archdiocese flak Tod Tamberg -- who's not returning telephone calls from anybody who won't kiss the cardinal's cassock these days -- just one little question: Under the bleedin' circumstances, what kind of numbskull allows his boss to hold a first post-controversy public appearance at a place named Our Lady of Refuge? Tod, couldn't you have suggested another church -- any other church?!)

Finally, the Times tells us that L.A. police chief Bernard Parks has written to Mahony requesting the names of the priests he's fired (known to readers of this column as the Dirty Dozen) and that Mahony has responded: "Recently dismissed priests who were in the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department have been duly reported...They were prosecuted and served probation many years ago. These cases are a matter of public record and known to your detectives."

The premier Roman Catholic cardinal in the United States (the man many Catholics thought, at least until lately, had the juice to become the first American pope) went on to say in his letter to Parks that while individual priests are required under California law to immediately report child-abuse allegations, the church has no such obligation.

OK, now read the last two paragraphs again because this is important.

Ready? If the legal system's already dealt with members of the Dirty Dozen, then why can't His Freakin' Eminence simply recite their names and case histories to the highest-ranking police officer in L.A.? What's the big secret, and why shouldn't a man of God want to let the cops make sure the victims of child abusers have gotten justice?

Talk about the devil's advocate! Plus, the Times failed to ask the $64 million question: If said priests did their legal bits "many years ago," then why in the name of Pope John Paul II did Mahony allow the felons to potentially prey on Catholic faithful -- some of whom are children -- for all these years, only to be "recently dismissed" in the wake of a scandal involving at least 80 priests and several hundred victims in the Boston area that legal experts say will wind up causing the church to sell property to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements?!

Here's why: Mahony's covering his sainted derriere. He's masterfully manipulating the press -- and law-enforcement authorities -- to minimize damage to the L.A. archdiocese and to his hallowed legacy. Heaven forbid that he come clean about the priests he's removed and be forced to auction off church property here -- jeopardize the magnificence of his beloved downtown cathedral, Our Lady of the Angels, when victims come forth and sue the church for failing to protect them against sexual predators. Insiders say wealthy Catholics were expected to pay for at least half of the new edifice. Will the mega-bucks continue to flow if Cardinal Cashflow can't contain a nasty scandal?

The Finger wasn't waxing facetious when it said the question of why Mahony's allowed convicted pedo-priests to possibly prey on his flock for years is the $64 million one. Think about it: Mahony's empire could wind up paying that much if just one victim of each of the, uh, 12 priests in question gets a settlement matching the $5.5 million awarded in Orange County to Ryan DiMaria, the alleged victim of ex-Father Michael Harris. Sexual-abuse counselors say the typical pedophile strikes at least 75 times with multiple victims -- so even if each victim gets just the $1.2 million that the L.A. and Orange County archdioceses agreed to pay Lori Haigh -- who says she was molested between the ages of 14 and 17 by Father John Lenihan -- the liability figure could easily eclipse $64 million.

Better for Mahony to stonewall. He's got to figure that maybe he'll get away with it, like he's gotten away with helping death-care giant Stewart Enterprises sell expensive burial plans to the Catholic faithful; like he's gotten away with spending what's approaching $200 million (critics say some of that money had to come from the Stewart deal) for the all-but-completed cathedral in an archdiocese filled with poor Latino parishioners. (Check out Ron Russell's cover story on the Stewart deal at www.newtimesla.com It's linked to this column.)

And with the LAPD and District Attorney Steve Cooley's office in charge of bringing the pious pedophiles to justice, chances are Mahony and his boys will come away unscathed. Cooley sent a namby-pamby letter to the cardinal, in which he offered his office's cooperation but didn't even ask for the names of the predators. And get a load of this: Now the LAPD's telling this digit that Mahony and the archdiocese are cooperating, even though they're still refusing to give up the names.

Suddenly, The Finger's no longer allowed to discuss the LAPD's inability to get the names of the dismissed padres with Captain Sharon Buck, who heads the department's juvenile division that's running the church investigation. She said she's been told that all information must now come from the LAPD's own spin doctors (The Finger's term) in the public information office. Here's Commander Gary Brennan's kid-gloves take on things:

"The way [the Cardinal's letter] was reported is unfortunate...Our detectives believe they have a good working relationship with the archdiocese. They're cooperating with us; I'll leave it at that."

But, but, but... how can you say the archdiocese is cooperating, Commander, if they won't give you the names?!

"Well, initially the archdiocese had been unwilling to give us names, perhaps because some cases were not in our jurisdiction. (Perhaps?!) Chief Parks finalized our request in a letter, and then the archdiocese invited our detectives to come over and talk. (How wonderfully polite! Did everyone enjoy a cup of tea?) That's when they gave us [some new information on pedophilia among the archdiocese's priests]. However, they didn't give us the names of the dismissed priests or the number of priests they've dismissed."

Duh! Commander, does it take this damnable digit to tell the LAPD that Mahony hasn't given anybody squat?! Or that the chief's living up to the Little Pussy handle this appendage awarded him for (among a host of things) letting rogue cops in the Rampart scandal off the hook? Why don't Parks or Cooley have the balls to work up charges against Mahony and his hypocritical goons for withholding evidence? The slicker-than-holy-oil prelate's simply throwing law-enforcement authorities the same scraps of sirloin he's throwing the press. Which should make citizens with children in Catholic schools feel really safe!

Here's living up to the LAPD credo: To protect (the cardinal and his cronies) and serve (up more victims to priestly pedophiles).

Says Mary Grant, spokeswoman for the Southern California chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, who herself contends she was abused by the aforementioned Father Lenihan, "Right now these perpetrators are like a loaded gun pointed at the parishes and the community. We don't know who they are, and based on the church's past pattern of hiding sexual abuse, I feel there's no reason to trust that the archdiocese is complying with the law. Cardinal Mahony's taking a position of concealing the identities of the perpetrators, claiming that this will somehow do more harm to the victims -- which's absolutely ridiculous! Cardinal Mahony's doing what he's always done: maintain unaccountability and fight all the way.

"He's concerned about the liability of the church," Grant continued. "He doesn't want these perpetrators revealed because it opens the archdiocese up to victims coming out of the woodwork. Child molesters almost always have multiple victims. If he's just dismissed these priests, and they've been prosecuted previously, and he put them back in parishes to be around kids, that's just unconscionable. The chances of recidivism are almost 100 percent, and Cardinal Mahony knows that. The Catholic church has treatment centers all over the country where they send their pedo-priests for recycling. Then, they pump them back into the parishes, and when they re-offend, the hierarchy acts as if they knew nothing about it. The cardinal's stonewalling, and that's typical."

Anne Cox, who runs the Children's Protection and Advocacy Coalition based in Sacramento, believes the up to 12 pedo-padres Mahony's admitting he let go (funny, isn't it, that a Roman Catholic cardinal can't say exactly how many priests he's booted out for pedophilia?) have got to be the tip of the iceberg in an archdiocese with more than 1,200 priests. "[To pay off possible litigants] the cardinal may have to sell his new church -- you know, Taj Mahony -- before it's all over," Cox said.

In the case that resulted in the most recent settlement against the L.A. and Orange County archdiocese, Lori Haigh, now 37, contends that Lenihan got her pregnant when she was 16, told her to get an abortion and gave her money to do so. She said she eventually told two other priests about the affair, only to have one accuse her of lying and the other come on to her.

But Haigh got some justice from the Orange County court. Grant, who told The Finger she was also molested by the same priest as a minor, wasn't as lucky. She filed suit against the church in 1989 and settled out of court in 1991 for $25,000 (pedophilia in the priesthood was only whispered about at the time). Because the statute of limitations had run out, the case couldn't be prosecuted, she was told. (The Orange County Sheriff's Department is investigating possible criminal charges in the Haigh case against Lenihan, who's agreed to be defrocked.)

The Finger heard alleged tape-recorded conversations between Grant and the priest who abused her on a recent episode of the Montel Williams Show. The voice that Grant identified as her abuser's could be heard admitting that he'd had a sexual encounter with Grant when she was in her early teens, but that the incident was as much Grant's fault as it was his.

Enough horror stories -- for now. The Finger believes time's of the essence. It's up to the authorities to discover the identities of the priests that Mahony's made a production of letting go. The fact that the cardinal's divulging new instances of abuse by priests is of little consequence to the victims of the Dirty Dozen. Even a cardinal ain't above the law, and Mahony can't be allowed protect men who could be continuing to abuse children in some other line of work. There's a reason that the law calls for sex offenders to be registered with police -- somebody needs to make sure they aren't continuing to prey on the innocent.


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