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Cardinal Roger Mahony speaks at LA REC in Los Angeles, March 2019Lisa Bourne /

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LOS ANGELES, California, May 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The disgraced former Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, has been hit with a lawsuit in which he stands accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old male in 1986.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of “John Doe” by Saunders & Walker law firm in the Superior Court of California last month, alleges that Mahony, 85, used his position of spiritual authority to groom the boy who was a minor at the time.

“In approximately 1986, when Plaintiff was 17 years old and attending Cathedral Church of Saint Vibiana, Archbishop Roger Mahony repeatedly sexually assaulted, molested and abused Plaintiff,” the complaint states.

“While performing his duties as an Archbishop, and for the purpose of furthering the duties required in that role, Archbishop Roger Mahony befriended Plaintiff and gained Plaintiff’s trust and confidence as a spiritual guide, authority figure and trustworthy mentor,” it continues.

“Seeing Archbishop Roger Mahony as a trustworthy mentor, Plaintiff was conditioned to comply with Archbishop Roger Mahony’s direction and to respect him as a person of authority in spiritual, ethical, and educational matters. Archbishop Roger Mahony’s conduct constituted ‘grooming’ of Plaintiff and culminated in his sexual assault and abuse of Plaintiff,” it adds.

The complaint goes into detail regarding the abuse that is alleged to have happened to the boy who is described as someone who was raised in Mexico City and who moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1986.

A video posted to Youtube on May 1 by Clean the Church captures the Cardinal being served the complaint.

When asked to comment on the matter, a spokesman from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told LifeSiteNews that it was his understanding that the “recent civil suit is being withdrawn.”

“There have been no credible allegations of misconduct concerning Cardinal Mahony. As Archbishop, Cardinal Mahony established the Archdiocese’s zero-tolerance policy regarding misconduct with minors and directed that a comprehensive list of accused clergy be published and updated, which included both priests and bishops. In that list, he included the past allegations made against himself that were investigated by law enforcement and found to have been unsubstantiated, with one resulting in the arrest of the accuser,” Adrian Alarcon, the Archdiocese’s Director of Media Relations, told LifeSite by email. 

“The Archdiocese is committed to the safety and well-being of the children and all in our parish and school communities. There are no clergy or lay persons known to have harmed a child currently serving in ministry. We take seriously every allegation of misconduct involving a minor, whether by clergy or lay person. Allegations are reported to law enforcement, and if the person is found to have harmed a child, they are permanently removed from serving in any capacity in the Archdiocese,” he added.

LifeSite reached out to the law firm of Saunders & Walker to verify the claim that the suit had been withdrawn. LifeSite will update this report as soon as the information is provided. 

Mahony was appointed Archbishop of Los Angeles in 1985. He was made a Cardinal by John Paul II in 1991. He retired in 2011. The Cardinal has a long history of advancing positions in the Catholic Church at odds with Catholic teaching, such as defending giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians and giving it knowingly to homosexual activists.

Mahony was barred from public ministry by his successor Archbishop Jose Gomez in 2013 after evidence surfaced of his systematic cover-up of sex abuse by priests. The Archdiocese in 2007 paid out a record $660 million settlement to over 500 victims of clergy, who, under Mahony’s supervision, were transferred from parish to parish where the priests found new victims to abuse. Despite the restriction placed on the Cardinal in 2013 by his successor, Pope Francis surprisingly rehabilitated Mahony, making him his “special envoy” at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Catholic diocese of Scranton.

The lawsuit states that the alleged victim, who is now 53, suffers many harms from the alleged assault, including “severe physical, psychological, emotion and economic harm, including, but not limited to symptoms of PTSD, severe anxiety, loss of interest and pleasures in activities, an inability to concentrate, feelings of self-blame, feelings of estrangement from friends and/or family, hypervigilance, a lost sense of worth, a sense of being tainted, suicidal ideation, and a loss of sexual desire.”

The lawsuit is seeking a trial by jury.

May 5, 2021, 4:40 PM EST update: This report now includes a statement from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.