KNX Radio reporters Dick Helton and Vicky Moore today interviewed L.A. Archdiocese Cardinal Roger Mahony (audio file) about the L.A. Times reporting he is the target of a federal grand jury investigation. The Scott Glover-Jack Leonard piece said that the Cardinal faces felony "denial of honest services" charges, because he adopted a priests-will-be-priests attitude to predatory pastors under his authority.
In the KNX interview, Mahony tells Helton and Moore that no one knows if he or anyone in the archdiocese is a target of the investigation. (His lawyer, J. Michael Hennigan, claimed in the Times feature that Mahony was not.)
"We were basically mystified and puzzled by the whole thing," Mahony says. "We have been through these investigations for years now."
Mahony says the investigation involves 22 priests, two of whom
are dead, with the remainder having returned to lay status over the
years. Throughout the dialogue Mahony stresses how far back in time the
child molestations that the 22 priests are accused of committing took place.
The Cardinal repeatedly refers his interrogators to Report to the People of God, a 2004 mistakes-were-made mea culpa issued by the archdiocese.
"It seems to have to do with who got transferred when and how, and whether or not the folks in the parishes were notified," the Cardinal says. "Our understanding of this problem has evolved. People decades ago didn't know how serious this problem was."
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People like himself, if the leaks about the grand jury are accurate.
"Do you think they're out to get you?" Moore asks, referring to the office of U.S. Attorney Tom O'Brien.
"I have no idea what their motives are," replies the Cardinal.
So far L.A.'s main Catholic newpaper, The Tidings, has nothing on its Web site besides routine reports ("Requiem Mass Draws Participants from Both Coasts") and local profiles ("Sister Regina Goes to Africa").