The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
New pedophile priest suit is filed
And a long-secret Vatican letter is disclosed for the first time
In it, a bishop is told to give no priest files to judges or others
It’s similar to newly-released, controversial Irish church document
SNAP: Both letters show "dangerous secrecy" by top Catholic officials
Group asks Mahony: "Has Vatican ever told you to keep crimes hidden?"
They will also
Today, SNAP is releasing a similar, never-before-released 1984 letter from a top Vatican official to a former Los Angeles church official forbidding him to ever turn over priest personnel files to civil judges, attorneys or others. The letter is from Cardinal Johannes Oddi of the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy and is written to former Tucson Bishop Manuel Moreno, once an LA auxiliary bishop. It deals with a priest who is being investigated by the Vatican for "drunkenness, outrageous language, liberties with women, etc." While the letters says that the priest should be removed from ministry, it also says that under no circumstances should the priest's secret personnel files be turned over to "civil authority." The Vatican cardinal goes on to promise that the Vatican will do everything in its power to resist turning over files.
Many of the victims, including the one in the new case, were abused after Baker told Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony in 1986 that he was a child sex predator. Mahony kept silent, refused to call the police, and let Baker stay in ministry for 14 more years (until 2000).
In news accounts, Mahony blames church policy at the time for his keeping Baker in parishes where he abused more children. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/11_12/2007_12_04_Spano_ExPriest.htm
In light of yesterday’s newly-disclosed Vatican letter ordering Irish bishops to keep abuse reports hidden, SNAP wants Mahony to disclose whether he and other US bishops were given the same instruction.
Baker is now serving a 10-year prison sentence for sexually abusing two kids. The victim in this new civil suit is in his 20s, which means that more criminal charges against Baker may be possible.
To date, Baker's secret personnel file has never been turned over to criminal authorities, despite repeated demands by law enforcement and victims' attorneys.
The Baker victim is represented by Attorney Vince Finaldi of Manly and Stewart (949 683 8373 cell). The new lawsuit is posted at www.manlystewart.com.
Copies of the letter will be available at the event
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests