Survivors Network of
those Abused by Priests
Regarding Document Summaries
Issued by Los Angeles Archdiocese
January 5, 2005
Statement by Steven Sanchez of Glendale,
SNAP Los Angeles Director (818) 262-6540
Hundreds of LA priests have been accused, in criminal
and civil courts, of molesting innocent children and vulnerable
adults. Dozens, if not hundreds of motions, legal briefs and filings
have been written and submitted to various judges on their behalf.
Yet not once has the so-called spiritual leader of this archdiocese
ever publicly criticized or even questioned a single legal maneuver
one of those priests or their lawyers have pulled.
Not once has Mahony ever said "Wait, you've crossed a line.
You've gone over the edge. That is just too harsh, too extreme,
Not once has Mahony shown concern for victims who are too afraid
to come forward and risk being re-victimized because Mahony and
his abusive priests keep playing legal hardball and basically warning
victims that if they speak up, church-financed defense lawyers will
fight to keep the secrets secret.
Do priests accused of horrific crimes have the constitutional right
to defend themselves?
Do they get to use every single tactic their lawyers can dream up?
In sports, in politics, in every kind of conflict, there are two
sets of rules. There are the formal, official rules. Then there
are the rules of common decency.
Participants can meet the first set of rules, while violating the
second set. That's what some LA priests are doing. And they're doing
it partially with Mahony's money and totally with Mahony's consent.
And they are wrong.
A priest can defend himself without attacking his accuser. That's
what Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and Albany Bishop Howard
Hubbard did. And they were praised for it.
Yet Mahony allows an accused priest, Fr. Joseph Alzugaray, to attack
his victim, and our group as well, by filing slander suits.
A priest can defend himself without hiding the truth. That's what
dozens of accused priests have done.
Yet Mahony allows dozens of his priests to hide the truth. Even
worse, Mahony bankrolls the priests' stonewalling efforts, while
at the same time claiming "It's their doing, not my doing."
Mahony claims to be transparent, open and wants to safeguard children
in his diocese from child molesters, yet he funds hardball legal
tactics against prosecutors trying to put dangerous men behind bars
and victims who are trying to expose the truth to protect kids and
begin to heal.
Again, Mahony is hiding behind his own abusive priests who continue
to do his dirty work for him.
The summaries that were to come out today are a poor substitute
for the truth. They are watered-down, sanitized, church-supplied
summaries, not the actual documents. They are basically like Nixon's
edited summaries of the Watergate tapes. Still, any information
is better than no information at all. All Catholics and victims
should feel sad that a small step closer to truth and healing has
again been postponed.
Some say "well, the priests are just exercising their Constitutional
rights." But priests, and all citizens, have some rights that
they should NOT exercise, even though they can.
It's legal for a priest to drive a teenager to an abortion clinic,
but surely Mahony would discipline such a priest.
It's legal for a priest to open a topless bar, but wouldn't Mahony
discipline such a priest.
It's legal for a priest to sell pornography, but surely Mahony would
discipline such a priest.
Likewise, we believe the Cardinal should discipline accused molesters
who hurt victims with mean-spirited legal maneuvers. We believe
the Cardinal should discipline accused molesters who inappropriately
try to hide the truth about their crimes using archaic restrictions
He should especially discipline those priests who he knows are guilty.
We urge LA Catholics to say enough is enough, and to tell Mahony
that their generous donations should not finance abusive legal maneuvers
by known and alleged abusive priests.
of those Abused by Priests