The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Saturday, September 19, 2009
Shocking revelations by top Catholic church insider; SNAP responds
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)
For the first time, a once-high ranking member of Mahony's inner circle reveals that just nine years ago, Mahony insisted on not calling police or warning parishioners about an admitted serial pedophile priest.
For years we've seen police, prosecutors, victims, attorneys and journalists have exposed Mahony's deceit. Now, a top archdiocesan staffer is disclosing Mahony's recklessness, callousness and deception and adding new and stunning details of Mahony's 2000 refusal to call police or warn parishioners about an admitted child molesting cleric, Fr. Michael Baker.
When it comes to serial predator priests, Mahony ignores the dictates of common sense, public safety, criminal experts and trained psychologists. Now it's clear that he also ignores his own staff and policies.
Not in the 70s, 80s, or 90s. In 2000.
Not with a suspected or accused pedophile priest. With a known one.
Not with a criminal who admitted his crimes to others. With a criminal who admitted his crimes to Mahony personally.
These facts are simple and stunning: A priest personally tells Mahony he's molested kids. Mahony doesn't call police. Msgr. Richard Loomis says he will call police. Mahony orders him not to do so. Loomis says he'll notify parishioners. Mahony orders him not to do so. Loomis even warns Mahony, in writing, that these two refusals violate church policy. Mahony still insists on secrecy.
As preposterous as it seems, Mahony and other highly educated bishops often claim it 'never occurred' to them to call police, or that they 'didn't understand' child sex abuse was a crime. This disclosure once again shows how deceitful these clerics are. Top LA archdiocesan officials, including Mahony, absolutely knew that Baker committed crimes and molested kids. Still, in 2000 Mahony refused to just call 911.
This document shows Mahony violating even the weak, vague church child sex abuse policy he's long bragged about.
Adding insult to injury, Mahony told his top aide that he wanted to keep silent about Baker's crime until after Baker was defrocked. But even after that happened, Mahony waited two years before admitting Baker's abuse.
And, even more disturbing, Mahony told his top aide that he wanted to stop notifying parishioners when credible child sex abuse allegations were made against priests.
When once-trusted, highly-place archdiocesan insiders start telling about Mahony's deceit under oath, the Cardinal's 'house of cards' finally shows signs of crumbling.
We beg LA Catholics and citizens to think very carefully about what these disclosures show about their Cardinal: that as recently as nine years ago, he continued to ignore law enforcement and deceive Catholics parishioners and protect admitted predators.
He didn't lack 'understanding' or 'knowledge' about child sex crimes. He lacked compassion for children and respect for the law. He still does.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 21 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Sex abuse cover-up by L.A. Archdiocese is alleged
The former vicar of clergy testifies under oath that Cardinal Roger Mahony ordered him in 2000 not to contact police about allegations of sexual abuse by a priest.
By Martha Groves and Richard Winton
September 19, 2009
The former vicar of clergy for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles testified this week under oath that Cardinal Roger Mahony ordered him in 2000 not to contact police about allegations of sexual abuse by a priest.
In deposition papers filed Friday as part of a civil case, Msgr. Richard Loomis also testified that Mahony ordered him not to inform parishes of allegations against the now defrocked Rev. Michael Baker.
In 2007, Baker was sent to state prison for 10 years after his conviction on molestation charges. He has been called before a federal grand jury investigating how the archdiocese handled priest abuse cases.
Loomis is on leave from the archdiocese after also being accused of sexual abuse.
Tod M. Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said church officials had not seen the deposition and therefore could not comment.
Under questioning by John Manly, an attorney for one of Baker's victims, Loomis testified that after learning Baker had performed three baptisms, despite orders to discontinue ministry, he told Mahony in a memo that the archdiocese should tell police.
Mahony "wrote on the memo and initially his response was to proceed but then through the general counsel's office I was told . . . that we were going to wait," Loomis said.
The 2000 discussions about Baker arose after an attorney for two brothers told the archdiocese that Baker molested them until 1999.
The archdiocese and Baker settled the matter out of court for $1.3 million.
The deposition contains a comment by Donald H. Steier, an attorney for Baker, that by 2000 the individuals who alleged that they had been sexually abused were adults.
Because of that, he said, "there is no legal requirement to make reports."
Manly said in an interview Friday that, "because of Cardinal Mahony, they never called the police until 2002."
In a 2002 interview, Baker told The Times that he had informed Mahony in the 1980s that he had sexually abused children.
"I told Mahony I had a problem," Baker said.
Mahony allowed Baker to remain active in the archdiocese and sent him to a New Mexico treatment center.
Later, Baker was assigned to other parishes and, according to court records and interviews, abused other boys.
Mahony said in a 2002 interview with The Times that no one at the archdiocese reported Baker to the authorities in 2000 because "it was just our expectation that the two brothers had gone to police because they were so angry at him."
In late March 2002, Mahony authorized an attorney to notify police about Baker. Until then, according to a confidential e-mail from an archdiocesan lawyer, Mahony had been "reluctant" to tell authorities.
In May 2002, Mahony formally apologized for having allowed Baker to continue in the ministry.
APNewsBreak: Filings show LA cardinal ordered vicar to delay reporting claims of priest abuse
By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press
Last update: September 18, 2009 - 10:04 PM
LOS ANGELES - A former high-ranking official with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles testified that Cardinal Roger Mahony ordered a subordinate to delay reporting clergy abuse claims to the police until the priest in question could be defrocked, according to court papers filed Friday.
He also decided not to tell parishioners about the allegations, according to the papers.
The claims were contained in a motion filed by plaintiff attorneys in Los Angeles County Superior Court and were based on the recent deposition of former vicar for clergy Monsignor Richard Loomis. A transcript of the deposition was attached.
The testimony centers around now-defrocked priest Rev. Michael Baker and a lawsuit filed in 2000 by two Arizona men who alleged sexual molestation by Baker in the mid- to late-1990s.
The archdiocese eventually settled the case for $1.2 million. Baker, who was defrocked later in 2000, was convicted in 2007 of molestation based on the claims of the two men and one other victim and is serving a 10-year prison sentence.
Baker was called earlier this year to testify before a federal grand jury investigating possible criminal wrongdoing by the archdiocese in its handling of clergy abuse cases.
Calls after business hours to two archdiocese attorneys and archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg were not immediately returned. However, in the deposition transcript, archdiocese attorney Don Woods said that because the two alleged victims were adults when they filed their claim, Mahony was not obligated to report it to the police and did no wrong.
In his testimony, Loomis said he told Mahony in a memo that he was going to report the new allegations against Baker to police. Loomis said Mahony initially supported the idea, but later told him — through a secretary — not to do so until the Vatican approved Baker's defrocking.
Plaintiff attorney John Manly said the archdiocese did not report abuse claims to the police until 2002, although Baker was defrocked in December 2000.
Loomis later testified that he wanted to report the new allegations to parishioners who worshipped in parishes where Baker had worked, but was told by Mahony not to do so — an apparent breach of normal church policy. Loomis said the order upset him deeply and he would have resigned if his term wasn't about to end.
"I wanted to follow our regular policy and inform the parishes where Father Baker had been assigned. And I was instructed that we were not going to do that because the lawsuit was still under the process of settlement," Loomis said, according to the transcript.
"I was very upset that we were not going to follow through with our ordinary way of doing it."
Loomis said when he was appointed vicar, his predecessor told him that Baker was treated differently than other priests accused of sexual molestation because he had "self-disclosed."
Baker first told Mahony in 1986 at a priests' retreat that he had molested two young boys from 1978 to 1985, according to church documents. Mahony did not notify police but sent Baker to a residential facility that treated priests for sexual abuse problems.
In the years that followed, Baker was assigned to nine parishes but barred from having one-on-one contact with minors. He violated those restrictions three times, according to church personnel file summaries released by the archdiocese.
Mahony removed Baker from the ministry in 2000 after the Arizona lawsuit.
Baker was charged two years later with 34 counts of molestation involving six victims, but those charges were dismissed in 2003 after the U.S. Supreme Court voided a California law that allowed the prosecution of cases involving acts that occurred before 1988.
However, the allegations by the Arizona men and one other victim allowed prosecutors to file new charges against Baker that fell within the statute of limitations.
In January 2006, the former priest was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport as he returned from a vacation in Thailand and prosecuted.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests