Los Angeles Diocese Release on Priest Abusers Only Fraction of Story
LOS ANGELES, October 13, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Yesterday, LifeSiteNews.com reported that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles released a document as an addition to its 2004 Report to the People of God. That “Addendum” included point-form information selectively gleaned from personnel files of 126 priests and according to the archdiocese’ website, an update of the list of priests against whom allegations of abuse have come to light since the original publication of the Report in February 2004.
The case of Fr. Michael Baker is being highlighted by most news sources as illustrative of the depths of the complicity of diocesan officials in shuffling known abusers from parish to parish. This pattern has been repeated in many US dioceses where abuse, overwhelmingly by homosexual priests preying on boys and adolescents, was systematically covered up by what many writers have identified as a homosexual subculture within the episcopate.
The document, however, may be more informative in what it declined to reveal. All the information is extremely terse, but in many cases, the records include only a list of transfers and appointments. Some contain no reference at all to any abuse allegations, courses of counseling or treatment, or legal proceedings.
A case in point is the record provided for Bishop Patrick Ziemann, a long-time friend and protÃ©gÃ© of Cardinal Mahony. The Addendum includes the following brief notes, “07/22/99: Resigned as Bishop of Santa Rosa. A former priest accused him of sexually assaulting him (an adult) after Bishop Ziemann removed the priest for stealing church money.”
A second entry says, “Before 4/1/01: Undergoes treatment at St. John Vianney Treatment Center, Philadelphia.” The record notes that Ziemann was “assigned” to the Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Trinity, St. David Arizona where he lives to this day. The last entry reads, “08/14/02: Plaintiff files civil suit alleging childhood sexual abuse by Bishop Ziemann beginning in 1967.”
This very sparse and tidy record might surprise those who have followed the story of Patrick Ziemann the infamously disgraced bishop of Santa Rosa.
In 1999, Ziemann admitted to a two-year homosexual relationship with one of his priests a man whom Ziemann had brought from Costa Rica and ordained despite his lack of seminary training. The priest accused Ziemann of coercing him into the relationship through blackmail and received an out of court settlement of US $535,000 and Ziemann resigned in disgrace.
The diocese paid out a total of $5.37 million since 1995 to settle various priestly sexual misconduct claims and was close to bankruptcy with nearly $30 million in debts when Ziemann resigned.
Charles Coulombe, writing in the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission in 2002, said that the five million paid out by the Los Angeles Archdiocese to settle suits “was primarily intended to keep Ziemann off the witness stand,” where he would have implicated Mahony.Ã
The last note in the Addendum refers to a further allegation that arose after Ziemann’s resignation. The plaintiff in the case said that Ziemann had molested him beginning at the age of 12. The plaintiff said that Ziemann paid him for sexual favors and that the relationship ended when Ziemann was named auxiliary bishop for Los Angeles in 1987.
Ziemann has still not received any canonical penalty, has not been “defrocked” and is still listed as the Bishop Emeritus of the diocese of Santa Rosa. He is living in a desert monastery where he enjoys unsupervised visits to town.
He is still adamantly defended by some in the Catholic Church for his “compasssion,” his outreach to “gays and lesbians” and his defence of leftist “social justice” issues.