Cardinal Roger M. Mahony spoke with Los Angeles Police Department detectives Wednesday after it was revealed that he told a group of priests he had been assaulted last summer by a man who was angry about the clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
Mahony spoke informally with detectives during a telephone conversation and did not want to pursue an investigation, LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said.
The cardinal was simply responding to a phone call from police, who learned of the assault from news reports, Vernon said.
Mahony said he was attacked shortly after a July announcement by the church that it had reached a $660-million settlement with abuse victims.
The cardinal told police he was walking near the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels downtown to drop off letters in a mail box when he was confronted by a man shouting obscenities, Vernon said. Mahony said he was punched by the man and kicked after he fell to the ground. The cardinal said he was badly bruised by the attack.
At the time, Mahony said, he did not wish to pursue the matter with police.
“He said he prefers not to involve the police if he doesn’t have to,” Vernon said. “The exception, he said, is when people cause an interruption to a service or Mass.”
As far as police are concerned, Vernon said, the case is closed.
“Given that the cardinal opted not to make a crime report, there is nothing to investigate,” Vernon said. “The good news is, he was not seriously injured and this appears to be an isolated incident.”