Sunday, December 12, 2010

Prelates ignore lawsuits
Victims urge Pope to lean on 2 key Catholic prelates

Victims ask Pope to force Mexican bishops to cooperate

Two top Catholic officials are ignoring sex lawsuits, they say

For 1.5 years, highest-ranking Mexican church staffer “evades the law”

A new child sex case, involving LA Cardinal & fugitive priest, is filed today

In an unusual move, clergy sex abuse victims are urging Pope Benedict to make two Mexican bishops accept service of a lawsuit charging them with ignoring and concealing child sex crimes by a fugitive priest.

And today a new civil lawsuit involving the same priest is being filed in Los Angeles. It charges that three top Catholic officials in LA and Mexico are responsible for the child sex crimes of Father Nicholas Aguilar-Rivera who police estimate molested at least 26 children in East Los Angeles.

In June of 2009 and April 2010, two other men have filed similar lawsuits involving Aguilar-Rivera. Those suits are still pending but are languishing because two accused wrongdoers – both Mexican prelates - are refusing service.

In all three cases, three bishops who supervised Aguilar-Rivera are named as defendants: LA Cardinal Roger Mahony, Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera and Tehuacan Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez. The latter two, SNAP says in a letter to Pope Benedict, are “ducking and dodging instead of abiding by the rule of law.”

“Plainly and simply, these two top Catholic figures – Mexico City’s cardinal and Tehuacan’s bishop - are evading justice,” said Joelle Casteix of Orange County, SNAP’s western regional director. “The actions of these two corrupt prelates directly contradict the words of the Pope.”

If Benedict refuses to step in, SNAP leaders say, he’s “essentially endorsing and condoning and encouraging this kind of obstreperous and hurtful behavior by others bishops.”

“If Pope Benedict is sincere in his promises to ‘do everything possible’ to stop clergy abuse crimes, he can’t ignore top church officials who delay healing and hide secrets by adamantly refusing to cooperate with the justice system,” said David Clohessy of SNAP.

In the earlier lawsuits, one of the alleged victims was abused in and lives in California. The other was abused in and lives in Mexico.

All of the Aguilar-Rivera victims are represented by St. Paul MN attorney Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990 work, 612 817 8665 cell) and Los Angeles attorney Anthony DeMarco (310 927 9277 cell). Documents about the cases are available and at

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