Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Beginning of the End for Cdl Mahony's Coverup

Via Rod Dreher, we learn that SCOTUS will NOT change an order requiring the LA Archdiocese to turn over priest personnel-records to criminal investigators--thus, likely, those records will also be available for civil litigants.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, rebuffed Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court in his request to keep two accused priests' personnel files private, now must turn those documents over to a grand jury and face the growing possibility that he may soon be forced to relinquish more confidential church records involving alleged sexual abuse.

Attorneys for the Los Angeles archbishop had argued that all communication between a bishop and his priests — including that about allegations of sexual abuse and resulting investigations — was protected under the 1st Amendment. In declining to hear his case, the Supreme Court effectively let stand a California appellate court decision that rejected the constitutional claim.

Cdl Mahony has been most intransigent:

The California appellate court ruling that was left in force Monday said "religious believers and institutions" must follow "the rules of civil society, particularly when the state's compelling interest in protecting children is in question."

Mahony has fought more vigorously than any other United States prelate to block attempts by prosecutors and plaintiffs' attorneys to gain access to internal church documents, a stance that has drawn heavy criticism even from the U.S. bishops' own national review board.

Leaders of Roman Catholic dioceses elsewhere, including in Orange County, Arizona, New Hampshire and Long Island, N.Y., have voluntarily turned over similar files to civil authorities.

"This has been an unprecedented and titanic fight," said Jeffery Anderson, one of the lead attorneys for the alleged victims in the Los Angeles civil cases. "Only Mahony had the audacity to do something like this."

Sooner or later, they'll get around to Fr. Widera, an ex-Milwaukee priest/predator. It's possible that the Milwaukee Archdiocese will have to kick in a large pile of money as part of a settlement for his actions.

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