“LA archdiocese to release accused priests’ files ” & related article

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Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 | 10:58 AM

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Five years after settling with sex abuse victims, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles says it will release the confidential personnel files of about 200 accused priests.

The Archdiocese will hand over the records to a judge on Dec. 10, spokesman Tod Tamberg told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune [scroll down] on Friday.

The files – with the names of innocent individuals redacted – will ultimately be made public under a record $660 million settlement the Archdiocese agreed to in 2007, the newspaper reported.

The personnel files of 13 priests were released Friday to Anthony De Marco, an attorney who represents a victim allegedly abused by the Rev. Nicolas Aguilar Rivera. That case is pending and the records remain under a protective order from the court and cannot be made public.

De Marco said the archdiocese is supposed to provide him with documents on 12 other priests within two weeks.

The December public release of all 200 confidential personnel files is vital to public safety, said Joelle Casteix, Western regional director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Some of these priests are still out roaming the streets unsupervised,” she told the Tribune. “These men who are known to archdiocese officials as having abused kids are living in neighborhoods, could be baby-sitting, volunteering in schools, and these documents will provide information that can protect kids now.”

De Marco expressed concern about the fact that the archdiocese redacted the name of the former archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony, from the documents.

“I have seen the archdiocese try to find every way they can to preserve the name and reputation of those folks that were complicit,” he told the newspaper. “That’s a concern I have – that folks like Cardinal Mahony, various bishops and other higher-ups, will be protected.”

Tamberg dismissed a notion by De Marco that the files may be incomplete, pointing out that all the redactions were done in the presence of lawyers for both sides, by order of a judge.

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Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release accused priests’ files to judge in December

sgvtribune.com (San Gabriel Valley)

Posted:   10/19/2012 08:52:08 PM PDT
Updated:   10/19/2012 08:53:21 PM PDT

By Christina Villacorte, Staff Writer

Five years after promising to do so, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will hand over the confidential personnel files of about 200 priests accused of sexual abuse and child molestation to a judge in December.

Those documents – with the names of innocent individuals redacted – will ultimately be made public under the Archdiocese’s record $660 million settlement in 2007 to 508 people who said they were victims.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Joelle Casteix, Western regional director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“I’m very encouraged that the judge has laid down a concrete schedule but, at the same time, I and other survivors will remain vigilant about holding the archdiocese to account.”

During a hearing in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Friday, Judge Emily Elias asked lawyers for both the archdiocese and victims about the status of the redacted documents and when they could be delivered to her.

Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg said all the parties agreed on the date of Dec. 10.

A small set of the confidential personnel files, however, was released Friday to lawyer Anthony De Marco, who represents a victim allegedly abused by the Rev. Nicolas Aguilar Rivera in a pending case.

The archdiocese handed over a banker’s box full of documents on 13 priests: Michael Wempe, Santiago Tamayo, Matthew Sprouffske, Eleuterio Ramos, Lawrence Lovell, Fidencio Silva, Benjamin Hawkes, Peter Garcia, Cristobal Garcia, James Ford, Angel Cruces, Lynn Caffoe and Michael Buckley.

De Marco said the archdiocese is supposed to provide him with documents on 12 other priests within about a week and a half.

He added this release was prompted by the state Supreme Court’s recent denial of appeals by lawyers for the individual priests. His set of documents, however, remains under a protective order from the court and cannot be made public.

Casteix said the public release of all 200 confidential personnel files in December is vital to public safety.

“Some of these priests are still out roaming the streets unsupervised,” she said. “Because of the fact that the archdiocese didn’t do the right thing – didn’t call the police – many have never been charged.”

“These men who are known to archdiocese officials as having abused kids are living in neighborhoods, could be baby-sitting, volunteering in schools, and these documents will provide information that can protect kids now.”

De Marco raised concerns the archdiocese redacted the name of the former Archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony, from the documents.

“I have seen the archdiocese try to find every way they can to preserve the name and reputation of those folks that were complicit,” he said. “That’s a concern I have – that folks like Cardinal Mahony, various bishops and other higher-ups, will be protected.”

“I’m also concerned about whether the files we see will be complete, or whether the archdiocese is going to show us only what they’re willing to show us.”

Tamberg, however, pointed out all the redactions were done in the presence of lawyers for both sides, by order of now-retired Judge Dickran Trevizian.

“I am not going to pander to Mr. DeMarco’s blatant mischaracterizations of Judge Trevizian’s redaction-order guidelines,” Tamberg said. “That order is public and available for all to read.”

Casteix is worried the delay in releasing the files has led to more children being victimized. It has been five years since the settlement was signed.

“What the survivors believe the archdiocese should have done is immediately made all the documents public,” she said. “Any effort on their part to keep the documents hidden is an effort to allow crime to continue in the archdiocese.”

“Also, there might be crimes in these documents that could have been prosecuted five years ago, but cannot be prosecuted now (because of the statute of limitations),” she said. “The archdiocese might have been sitting on vital information that might been used by law enforcement.”

christina.villacorte@dailynews.com

213-974-8985

twitter.com/LADNvillacorte

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