Cardinal Roger Mahony’s Archdiocese of Sexual Abuse
At the Schools with Audrey Linden
This is not directly related to the public school system, but indirectly, priests are educators and as such, must be held to a higher standard, especially spiritual or religious educators. The followers of Catholicism do look to their leaders to educate and guide the “flock” as it were. Cardinal Roger Mahony had a due diligence to report any and all cases of sexual abuse that had come to his attention. He was the chief administrator, as it were, of thousands of priests and their leader. By not reporting these crimes of sexual abuse and molestation, he was and is guilty of complicity and aiding and abetting.
We have read of late, of cases within LAUSD’s public education system of a few cases of sexual abuse or child molestation, and the District is being held responsible. So should Cardinal Mahony and the Catholic Church be held responsible. Priests are educators of spiritual teachings, so their crimes seem even more heinous. And, to conceal or cover up these crimes is a crime in and of itself, and should be punishable by law.
Archbishop Jose Gomez, Mahony’s successor of two years, has publically rebuked Cardinal Roger Mahony. Mahony is relieved of all public and administrative duties. But, according to the L A Times, this is merely a slap on the wrist. This public rebuke carries little weight. Mahony has not been defrocked, and he should be. And, he and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese should be held accountable of concealment.
The legal problem is one of the statute of limitations as the concealment took place in the 1980’s. Mahony’s claim, that even in his graduate studies for his degree in social work, nothing was writtenon how to handle cases of abuse, does not ring true at all. Child abuse was and is a crime, and he needed to report any and all such acts to law enforcement and not deliberately conceal these acts against children.
Granted, the course of any effective treatment or rehabilitation might not have been known in the 1980’s, but it was and is clear about reporting crimes of sexual abuse and child molestation. There is no question about reporting crimes to law enforcement. And, failure to report these crimes is in itself a crime.
Apparently, Mahony was unhappy about being “outed” by being publically rebuked by Archbishop Jose Gomez. Mahoney posted on his blog that yes, he had made mistakes in the 1980's, but he justified those mistakes by stating publically he did not know how to properly handle the reports of abuse. Really? He needed to be so educated in his own college courses to report these crimes to authorities and not conceal them? There is the question of his own moral background and hypocrisy here. This is a man of God? And, what does he do? He conceals and in effect lies. Oh, and then he offers confession and sacrament to others? I think not. Cardinal Roger Mahony needs to be more than publically rebuked. He needs to be defrocked and held accountable as anyone else who has criminally concealed crimes.
He had been told to destroy documentation and since he failed to destroy the records, they have come to haunt him and to reveal his act of complicity. There were over a hundred priests involved who were spoken to, given counseling and moved to other parishes. The parishioners were not told and the crimes often were repeated. One priest tried to get a position as a teacher in an all boy’s school. Fortunately, his background came out and he was not hired.
Cardinal Roger Mahony hides behind the notion that he simply did not know what to do and studies that now show rehabilitation of child abusers is not effective were not available in the 1980’s. While that might be true and correct, the duty to report to law enforcement was clear. He also stated that he turned over an archdiocese “second to none” on abuse two years ago. In other words, forget that Mahony lied in 1980 and concealed cases of sexual abuse in the 1980’sand forget those victims, whose lives were changed forever, because he cleaned up his act in 2000. I suspect Mahony had to because those cases would have come forth.
Archbishop Gomez is right to publically rebuke Mahony and some question since Gomez had taken over Mahony’s duties over two years ago, why didn’t he do so sooner? And, a public rebuking is not enough. Defrocking is called for and criminal charges to be pressed.
It is sad to find cases of abuse in public education and in spiritual or private education sectors. People look to their educators to inspire and enlighten. Religious education is held to a higher standard. We don’t expect priests or administrators of priests to abuse, conceal, or lie. This seems to be a time when such cases of child abuse are coming to light and a time of revealing such cases. Hopefully, it will also be a time for setting strict standards for enforcement, and those who conceal or fail to report cases of child abuse will be held accountable. Mahony cannot hide behind a collar and a frock any longer whether he is officially defrocked or not.
Public Education Reporter