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Friday, February 1, 2013 - 3:00am

LA Archbishop Relieves Retired Cardinal Mahony Of Duties, Releases Abuse Files

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Thursday relieved retired Cardinal Roger Mahoney of his remaining duties, on the same day it released thousands of pages related to the abuse of children by priests.

The Archdiocese called the release of the files, part of a 2007 legal settlements, "a sad and shameful chapter in the history of our Local Church."

The files were released just hours after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Emilie H. Elias ordered the church to do so.

In an accompanying statement, Archbishop Jose Gomez called the files "brutal and painful reading." Here's more from his statement:

"My predecessor, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care. Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy. I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibility as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara."

The Los Angeles Times provides the background:

"[The judge's] order brought to a close five and a half years of legal wrangling and delays and set the stage for a raft of new and almost certainly embarrassing revelations about the church's handling of pedophile priests.

"The files Elias ordered released are the final piece of a landmark 2007 settlement between the archdiocese and about 500 people who said clergy abused them. As part of that $660-million settlement, the archdiocese agreed to hand over the personnel files of accused abusers. Victims said the files would provide accountability for church leaders who let pedophiles remain in the ministry; law enforcement officials said the records would be important investigative tools.

"But the release was delayed for years by appeals and the painstaking process of reading and redacting 89 files, some hundreds of pages long. A private mediator in 2011 ordered the church to black out the names of victims and archdiocese employees not accused of abuse, saying he wanted to avoid 'guilt by association.'"

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