The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed a record settlement for four child abuse cases. Cardinal Roger Mahony, who is involved in the election of a new pope, is accused of protecting the pedophile priest in question.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony and a former priest have agreed to pay a total of nearly $10 million to settle four child sex abuse cases.
A lawyer for the archdiocese, Michael Hennigan confirmed on Tuesday local time that a settlement in the amount of $9.99 million had been reached for four victims, two of them brothers.
The archdiocese has reached several smaller settlements, but the one announced on Tuesday was by far the biggest single agreement to date.
The cases involved a former priest and confessed pedophile who was convicted of child molestation in 2007 and paroled in 2011.
Cardinal Mahony has called child abuse "a terrible sin and crime"
Recently released internal church records which document the role of Roger Mahony, who retired in 2011 as head of the largest US archdiocese, reveal that he had learned of the abuse in 1986 when the priest in question confessed to having abused the boys over a seven year period.
Mahoney was accused of helping the confessed pedophile priest evade law enforcement by sending him out of state to a church-run center for psychological treatment and then placing him back in the Los Angeles ministry. There he was banned from any contact with minors but allegedly continued to abuse young boys.
The church files indicated that the cardinal had worked behind the scenes to protect the church from scandal.
According to the plaintiffs' attorney in the case, none of the parties had admitted wrongdoing.
Mahony has apologized repeatedly for his handling of clergy abuse cases, calling abuse “a terrible sin and crime”.
The cardinal is currently taking part in the conclave in the Vatican to elect a new pope and could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The Los Angeles archdiocese serves 4 million Catholics. It reached a $660 million (506 million euros) civil settlement in 2007 with more than 500 victims of child abuse.
Scandals over sex abuse in the US Catholic Church came to light in 1992 with a series of molestation cases uncovered in Boston.
They have cost the church billions of dollars in settlements and driven several prominent dioceses into bankruptcy.
rg/lw (Reuters, AP)