With Cardinal Roger Mahony getting ready to retire from the Roman Catholic Los Angeles Archdiocese, his eminence is pulling some strange, ill-conceived moves again, now refusing to maintain an updated list of sexually abusive priests on the archdiocese's web site.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national watchdog group, is livid.
“If Mahony can't do the easy thing and warn parishioners about dangerous men who worked with and around their kids,” Joelle Casteix, a leader of SNAP, emails L.A. Weekly, “how can we expect him to do the right thing? … We simply can't.”
For years, Mahony has been pilloried by the public, even investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, for his mishandling of L.A. archdiocese priests who sexually abused parishioners.
Critics view him as a master cover-up artist. Casteix even suggests: “How can we expect him to call law enforcement or help victims?”
Mahony ended up making a $650-million settlement with the raped and sexually traumatized child victims in 2007.
In 2004, Mahony finally published “Report to the People of God,” which named some “predator priests,” as SNAP calls them, who were identified on the archdiocese's web site.
In 2009, though, the cardinal removed their names from the Internet. The reason: something about how the names of these creeps had gotten enough exposure.
“We now make the Report available by request, since the list was up for so long and was highly publicized,” L.A. archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg writes in an email to the Weekly.
Tamberg uses the whacked-out logic that the church is off the hook because it was transparent at one point, and because Bishopaccountability.org, an independent watchdog group that works closely with SNAP, “now carries the names.”
Casteix retorts, “I do find it interesting that Tod Tamberg says that it is now other people's responsibility to publicize the names of men who sexually abused children in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”
“The only reason that Bishop Accountability has the list up was because [Mahony] had taken it down,” adds Casteix.
“When people need to access quick information about predators who may have been in their church and school, the first place they will go for answers is the archdiocese.
“They have a moral and Christian obligation to be transparent and keep kids safe — not 'dump' their responsibilities on victims groups or Bishop Accountability, who barely have the budget to keep their servers running.”
SNAP demands that Mahony follow the examples of archdioceses in Milwaukee, Toledo, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Those church leaders had the guts — or you could say, the sufficient shame Mahony has lacked — to post and maintain an updated list of sexually abusive priests on the Internet.
Casteix, though, says that SNAP has “heard absolutely NOTHING from Mahony” — a man who still hasn't felt the full brunt of his failure to act years ago.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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