The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement 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, too insensitive."

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? Certainly not.

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 and technicalities.

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.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests