The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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Sex Abuse Victims Ask DA To Look At Perjury Charges Against Mahony
SNAP Questions Whether Cardinal's Testimony Was Truthful
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is asking a California district attorney to investigate whether Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony perjured himself in depositions and court testimony regarding a convicted abusive priest.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing San Joaquin County District Attorney John D. Phillips, urging him to look into two apparent discrepancies between what Mahony swore under oath in 1998 and what he said later.
Both center on civil proceedings against Fr. Oliver O'Grady, who Mahony supervised as Stockton's Catholic bishop from 1980 to 1985.
In 1993, a Stockton jury found O'Grady criminally guilty of four counts of lewd and lascivious acts against minors. He has since been released from prison and been deported to his native Ireland.
In 1998, in a rare civil molestation trial, O'Grady was also found guilty of molesting two boys. Jurors later publicly said they didn't believe Mahony's testimony.
The first apparent contradiction revolves around how many suspected abusive priests Mahony dealt with in the relatively small Stockton diocese. In 1998, Mahony testified O'Grady was the only one. Last week, however, CNN reported that Mahony said in a deposition last month that two more Stockton priests who allegedly molested youngsters had allegedly slipped his memory. (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/09/asb.01.html)
I had forgotten about those incidents, he testified in a Nov. 23, 2004 deposition . The two accused priests, Fr. Antonio Munoz and Fr. Antonio Camacho, have since left the county . http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/11
The second discrepancy involves contradiction of a psychologists sworn testimony. According to the 1998 trial transcript, Dr. William Morris testified that O'Grady had admitted being a "molester of children" and that Mahony had told Morris that he knew about O'Grady's pedophilia.
Morris' written report to Mahony warned that O'Grady suffered "a severe defect in (sexual and social) maturation" and "is not truly called to the priesthood." Nevertheless, Mahony said on the witness stand he didn't know O'Grady was a molester.
"We're talking about a tiny diocese with 33 parishes, and a time span of five years, so it's practically inconceivable that Mahony could have forgotten about at least two other accused clerics," said Mary Grant of Long Beach, SNAP's Western Regional Director. "Mahony also basically claims a psychologist is lying, on the witness stand and in his printed report, while the psychologist has no incentive to be deceptive."
SNAP is the nation's oldest and largest self-help group for men and women victimized by clergy.
A copy of SNAP's letter to the DA, sent today by e mial and fax, is below:
December 15, 2004
Mr. John D. Phillips, District Attorney
Dear Mr. Phillips:
We, the members of SNAP, (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) write to implore you to act to ensure justice and the protection of children, by investigating possible perjury charges against Cardinal Roger Mahony.
As you are likely aware, Los Angeles archdiocesan officials (presumably including Mahony himself) are currently being investigated by a grand jury for their potential role in aiding, abetting and covering up for predator priests.
However, Mahonys mishandling of pedophile priests did not begin when he arrived in Los Angeles. There were at least three known or suspected abusive clerics (but very likely more) that Mahony now admits supervising while he headed the Stockton diocese.
Two of those, he claimed to have forgotten about during a recent sworn deposition: Fr. Antonio Munoz and Fr. Antonio Camacho. Both have since left the country.
Mahony, unlike the average person giving testimony, has nearly unlimited resources and an army of high priced legal minds to carefully and thoroughly read files and documents. These attorneys surely briefed Mahony prior to the 1998 trial and the recent deposition. Neither the trial nor the deposition were impromptu events where the Cardinal were caught unprepared. And this is a small diocese with several dozen priests and a time span of only five years. Therefore, any reasonable person would find Mahony's alleged "forgetfulness" extremely hard to believe.
The most notorious of the known or suspected Stockton abusive priests is Oliver OGrady, who counts a nine month old girl as his youngest victim.
In a 1998 civil trial in Stockton, against O'Grady, Mahony and the diocese, the Cardinal denied that he knew OGrady was a child molester. His claim is directly contradicted, however, by the sworn testimony of Dr. William Morris to whom OGrady admitted being a molester of children. Dr. Morris testified under oath that Mahony knew about OGradys pedophilia. Jurors later publicly said they didnt believe Mahonys testimony. Further, Mahony failed to mention that he had pedophiles Munoz and Camacho under his supervision during his tenure as bishop.
With all due respect, we urge you to launch an investigation into whether Mahony committed perjury in his sworn statements. We ask you to protect kids by setting an example for those who would protect child molesters. This behavior has unfortunately been tolerated before, but if we value our children and the innocence of their youth, it must never be again.
We look forward to your assistance in this matter and welcome an opportunity to speak with you about it in greater detail.
SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests