The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding Cardinal Mahony Letting Child Predators Flee the Country


Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006

Statement by clergy sex abuse victim Luis Godinez of Stockton California, who knew Mahony personally and whose predator left the country to Costa Rica and later died in 1985. (760)-234-2950 or

We're here outside the LA Criminal Courts today because this is where our predators and their supervisors should be - in court, facing criminal charges, for child sex crimes against kids and for covering up those crimes.

And I'm here today because I want to see Cardinal Mahony protect kids, not protect himself.

Specifically, I'm here today because I worry about pedophile priests, from Stockton and LA, who are still walking free, especially those who've gone overseas or to other countries. I'm here because I want to see Catholic officials do more to warn families and alert authorities about these dangerous men.

I know Cardinal Mahony. My family knows Cardinal Mahony. He's been at my parents' home in Stockton many times when he was Bishop. In 2002, I called Cardinal Mahony. I told him about the abuse I suffered between late 1980 to early 1983. In fact, he was the first person I reported my abuse to. His response was simply "I'm sorry, but what can be done now, Fernando is dead."

When I was with my perpetrator at his home, late at night and early in the morning, Mahony would call. This happened several times. I heard my perpetrator tell Mahony that the two of us were there alone. Cardinal Mahony must have known I was being abused. Or at least, he must have had suspicions. He should have done something. But he did not.

Because of brave survivors, dedicated police, and persistent prosecutors, much attention has been focused on Mahony's insensitive and secretive mishandling of LA clergy sex crimes and cover ups. But before he came here, back in Stockton, he acted in many of the same hurtful and deceitful ways.

I want to remind Catholics that Mahony covered up sex crimes before he came to LA, that Mahony let child predators flee the country before he came to LA, and that Mahony is doing little to protect kids now from abusive Stockton priests, just like he is doing little to protect kids now from abusive LA priests, especially those who have left this country and may be molesting children in Mexico and elsewhere.

I know of at least three Stockton area priests under Mahony's supervision who left the US after being accused of molesting children. They are Fr. Camacho, Fr. Munoz, and my perpetrator, Fr. Fernando Villalobos. I suspect there are more. I'm sure my brothers and sisters in LA SNAP know of many more LA abusive priests under Mahony's supervision who have also left the US.

Does anyone actually believe that Cardinal Mahony has done everything he can to warn Catholic families and alert government officials about these men? I don't think so.

Cardinal Mahony rules over a huge empire, the largest Catholic archdiocese in America. He's spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on high priced lawyers to protect himself. Has he spent a dime on letters, notices, mailings, advertisements, and websites?

Has he used his OWN website or archdiocesan newspaper or parish bulletins or employees to circulate a list of fugitive or missing pedophile priests and beg those with information about their crimes to call law enforcement?

Here's a simple idea Cardinal Mahony: How about a full page ad in the Tidings that says "These are priests who I, Cardinal Mahony, am responsible for and who I believe have left the US for Mexico. Please send these names to any friends and family you have in Mexico. Tell them to call the police if they see these men. Tell them to be careful around these men."

Here's another idea: Why not go down to Mexico City and along with Cardinal Norberto Rivera, hold a news conference, tell the entire country the names of the potentially dangerous priests, and ask Mexican Catholics to be on the look out for these clerics? What a powerful statement that would send to Catholics and victims worldwide.

There's an old saying: WHERE THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S A WAY. If Mahony wanted to help track down these priests, wanted to help law enforcement find these priests, and wanted to stop more abuse by these priests, there are many things he could do. Instead, he focuses on protecting himself and his secrets.

So the bottom line is that I'm here today because I want to see Cardinal Mahony protect kids, not protect himself.

Mary Grant of Long Beach, SNAP western regional director 626 419 2930
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314 566 9790
Eric Barragan of Santa Maria, SNAP Mexico regional director 805 207 7424 (bilingual/Spanish)





Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests