Two groups that deal with clergy sex abuse are asking the top Catholic official in Los Angeles to demote one of his highest ranking staff members.
Leaders of BishopAccountability.org and of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing Archbishop José H. Gomez, urging him to discipline Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, who was implicated in newly-released church records about pedophile priests.
"It's bad enough to deceive parents, parishioners and the public. It's even worse to deceive police and prosecutors. Bishop Curry has done both," said Joelle Casteix, SNAP Western Regional Director. “He should be fired, censured or demoted immediately.”
In memos from 1986 and 1987, between then-Msgr. Curry and Cardinal Roger Mahony, then the leader of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Curry offers suggestions on way to prevent and circumvent investigations by police of priests who had admitted abusing young boys. His tactics included avoiding therapists who might alert authorities and sending priests to assignments out of state.
“This is an opportunity for Archbishop Gomez to make a clean break with the failed policies of his predecessor, Cardinal Mahony,” said Terence McKiernan, President of BishopAccountability.org, a website that archives Catholic abuse documents. “The documents show that Auxiliary Bishop Curry’s management of the Wempe, Baker, and Peter Garcia cases was immoral and likely illegal. At a time when managerial malfeasance has been judged criminal in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Archbishop Gomez must do the accountable thing: remove Bishop Curry from his positions of power and make a full disclosure of the archdiocese’s previous obstructionist practices.”
BishopAccountability.org has posted a user-friendly version of the newly released documents at http://www.bishop-accountability.org/docs/los_angeles_1/.
“Archbishop Gomez knows,” said McKiernan, “that the situation for Curry and other members of the old guard will only get worse, as the entire 30,000 pages of documents are released to comply finally with the 2007 settlement. The time for Archbishop Gomez to act is now. Later will be too late.”
SNAP and BishopAccountability.org are asking Archbishop Gomez to take disciplinary action immediately against Curry, and are specifically asking that his punishment be swift and severe.
“These memos reveal, in damning detail, Bishop Curry’s plans to keep in ministry priests who were known to be dangerous,” said Casteix. “Not only should Curry be demoted, but he should be charged with obstruction of justice or other similar crimes.”
It is likely that, due to statute of limitations issues, Bishop Curry will not be charged with a crime. However, yesterday Los Angeles police and prosecutors announced that they would look into the files in order to determine if there were any crimes that occurred for which the statute of limitations has yet to run.
“We are glad that law enforcement officials are looking into these files,” said Casteix, “but that shouldn’t preclude the Archbishop from taking action immediately. Right now, he has a man on his staff who actively worked to deceive police and keep kids in harm’s way. Archbishop Gomez should take action immediately to rectify that.”