Saturday, February 9, 2013

America's largest Catholic archdiocese revealed new and disturbing details

LOS ANGELES (CA) - The files released last week by America's largest Catholic archdiocese revealed new and disturbing details about how church officials schemed to protect priests accused of molesting children. But was the scandal in Los Angeles really so much worse than in other places?

Sadly, no. The details emerging from the documents mirror what happened in archdioceses across the country, as church officials time and again put their own concerns above the needs of victims.

One of the earliest cases to draw nationwide attention involved Gilbert Gauthe, a priest who raped dozens of boys in rural Louisiana. By 1984, when Gauthe was indicted on 34 counts of sex crimes against children, church officials had been aware he was abusing children for at least a decade. But instead of reporting his crimes, they transferred him to another parish, where he continued to have sex with the children in his charge. He was stopped only after a boy he raped wound up in the hospital due to his injuries.

In the nearly three decades since the Gauthe case, more than 6,000 priests were, by the church's own definitions, "credibly" or "not implausibly" accused of raping or sexually abusing children and adolescents. Lawsuits and criminal charges were brought against nearly every Catholic diocese in the U.S., and nearly 500 clerics were jailed.

- Los Angeles Times