Earlier this month, a state judge ordered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to include the names of church leaders who mishandled sex-abuse claims when it finally releases scores of confidential priest files as part of a 2007 settlement.
Yet despite that court order, the archdiocese has continued to act as if the rules don’t apply to it. This week, the church resubmitted a proposal that would have redacted the names of top church leaders from the documents and only provided the names of those officials in a generic cover sheet attached to the priest’s file. The church’s actions were nothing short of an attempt to delay justice and conceal the truth from the victims and the public.
I can’t say the church’s request came as a surprise. The archdiocese has spent years in court fighting to keep those records under wraps. And last week, we learned why.
As The Times' Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan reported, confidential letters and memos, filed in a civil court case, reveal Cardinal Roger M. Mahony’s role in plotting to shield pedophile priests from coming to the attention of police or prosecutors. The letters document how Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, his top advisor on sex-abuse cases, discussed strategies to keep pedophile priests out of state.
Victims have long argued that the church covered up the abuse, and they have fought for the release of the files in hopes of learning the truth about what top officials knew and when they knew it.
This week, finally, the church’s attorney said it will release all the files with the required names. It's about time the full story comes out -- and the church learns that the rules apply to everyone.