LOS ANGELES, March 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, along with a defrocked priest who served time in prison for engaging in sex acts with boys, will together with the archdiocese pay approximately $10 million to settle four civil lawsuits over child sex abuse, Reuters reports.
Cardinal Mahony was censured and relieved of his public duties by Archbishop Jose Gomez in January after a court order forced the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release documents detailing Mahony’s cover-up of sexual abuse by priests.
Archbishop Gomez said at the time, “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil.”
The newly settled civil suits accused Mahony of shielding pedophile priest Michael Baker from the legal consequences of his ongoing abuses by quietly sending him to a Church-owned rehab center in New Mexico and later placing him back on active duty in the archdiocese.
Baker was convicted in criminal court in 2007 on twelve counts of felony oral sex with two different boys. Those two victims reached an earlier settlement with the archdiocese, but four more of Baker’s alleged victims came forward to bring these most recent lawsuits, including a sibling of one of the victims from the criminal case. Two more civil cases are pending.
“The settlement of these cases against former priest Michael Baker is symbolic of the sex abuse scandals that rocked the Los Angeles Archdiocese under Cardinal Roger Mahony,” said victims’ attorney John Manly, in a press release. “We presented evidence that Cardinal Mahony and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles knew of Father Baker’s sexual abuse of children and concealed his identity from law enforcement and the public.”
Added Manly, “The settlement in these cases sends a clear message – never again!”
Michael Duran, one of the victims, appeared at the news conference announcing the settlement. “I trusted Father Baker,” Duran said. “He was my priest and I thought he was my friend. Now we know that I was but one of his many victims. Rather than protect us, Cardinal Mahony and the Church protected our abuser.”
The documents released by the Archdiocese earlier this year revealed that Baker admitted to molesting two boys in 1986, shortly after Mahony’s installation as Archbishop. He was sent to New Mexico to spend six months in therapy; then returned to ministry in L.A., in a job where he ostensibly would not have access to children. But victims’ attorney Vince Finaldi told Reuters that the residence provided for the admitted molester was attached to a church that also had a school on the premises.
The documents also reveal that in addition to hiding known child-molesting priests from the cops in out-of-state rehab, Cardinal Mahony and former Bishop Thomas Curry of Santa Barbara (who resigned in disgrace on the day of Mahony’s censure) also advised priests to conceal their misdeeds from therapists and other mandatory reporters who would have had to disclose any abuse of minors to the authorities.
One of the documents, a memo addressing Baker’s return to ministry in Los Angeles, shows Curry told Mahony that Baker should avoid talking about “his past problem” to a therapist after he got out of rehab. Mahony wrote back, “Sounds good – please proceed!”
While Mahony was remarkably reluctant to punish child-molesting priests, he was famously aggressive in his efforts to quash EWTN founder Mother Angelica, who occasionally criticized the then-Archbishop.
EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo wrote a biography of Mother Angelica that revealed that after the religious sister criticized him over a liturgical matter, Mahony traveled to Rome and went to every office of the Vatican that could possibly punish her and begged them to do so. He even threatened to withhold the Sacraments from Mother Angelica unless she issued a public apology.
Meanwhile, Mahony happily gave the Sacraments to pro-abortion politicians and rainbow-sash wearing homosexual activists.
In 2005, while Cardinal Mahony was holding inauguration ceremonies for the pro-abortion mayor of Los Angeles in the Cathedral, young pro-life Catholics who were prayerfully protesting outside the Cathedral were removed and threatened with arrest by Cathedral security.
The ongoing investigations and civil litigation chasing the former archbishop are threatening to bankrupt the L.A. Archdiocese. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that the archdiocese is considering its first capital fundraising campaign in 60 years, in which they hope to raise $200 million to help pay debts incurred by the scandal. According to the Times, the archdiocese’s liabilities now exceed its assets by $80 million.