Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't judge 1986 acts by 2010 standards, Cardinal Mahony said in deposition

Don't judge 1986 acts by 2010 standards, Cardinal Mahony said in deposition
June 16, 2010 Catholic Culture
In newly released testimony from a sex-abuse lawsuit, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles said that the decisions he made in 1986 should not be judged by today’s standards.

"The challenge is trying to look at 1986 through the lenses of 2010," Cardinal Mahony said. He was explaining his failure to inform police after a priest admitted that he had molested children. The cardinal admitted that he had erred by accepting the priest’s promise not to repeat the sexual assaults, but said that in the 1980s the Church did not have strict standards for dealing with clerical abusers.

The priest involved in the case, Michael Baker, has since been laicized and is now serving a prison sentence for sexual assault on two children. He has been charged with molesting more than 20 children. The Los Angeles archdiocese paid $2.2 million to settle the lawsuit for which Cardinal Mahony was testifying.

The transcript of the cardinal’s deposition, made public yesterday, offered no new surprises. But John Manly, the plaintiff’s lawyer who was questioning Cardinal Mahony, said that the full text “paints a picture of somebody who obfuscates, dodges, lies, and explains away everything.”

Cardinal Mahony issued a statement after the release of the transcript, repeating his apology for failing to remove Baker from ministry. “I believed too readily in Baker’s contrition, and in our ability to treat and monitor him effectively,” he said. The cardinal said he was confident that new policies now in place in the archdiocese would protect children adequately.

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