February 6, 2009
Last week, it was reported that U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien had empaneled a grand jury to investigate the sexual abuse crisis in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Prosecutors will consider charging Cardinal Mahony and other church officials “under a federal fraud statute that makes it illegal to ‘scheme…to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services,'” according to the L.A.Times.
Cardinal Mahony immediately took to the airwaves to declare himself “mystified and puzzled” by this development. Yet his interview in fact provides the best possible justification for U.S. Attorney O’Brien’s decision. To see why, read Cardinal Mahony’s interview, transcribed in full for the first time here. Then test his claims of full disclosure against the archdiocese’s misrepresentations in the sample case of Rev. Lynn Caffoe.
Cardinal Mahony would have us believe that the archdiocese offered “a complete breakdown of all of those cases” in 2004. Then they “reached a settlement with the plaintiffs, and that’s all behind us.” But as the 508 plaintiffs know, the document release promised in the settlement still has not happened, almost two years later. Without the documents, we are left with the archdiocesan version of events. Thanks to the courage of survivors and their families, and the hard work of attorneys and reporters, the archdiocese’s silence and lies in the Caffoe case have begun to be challenged. But much is still secret. And Caffoe is one of hundreds. O’Brien has a long row to hoe.
Co-Director – Bishop Accountability