Los Angeles Files – November 2013 Release
Another batch of religious order and extern files has been released in Los Angeles, as agreed in the survivors' landmark 2007 settlement with the Los Angeles archdiocese. The released files are in non-searchable PDFs. Today BishopAccountability.org will be providing a first look at selected documents.
Bro. Joseph F. Reagan, C.S.C.
Bro. Joseph F. Reagan joined the Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1961. He trained in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Texas in 1961-1965, and then worked as a counselor at a boys' home called Rancho San Antonio in Chatsworth CA (see summary). He left the order in 1966, planning to "achieve my salvation ... in the field of baseball."
The order was contacted several times in June 2002 by a man alleging abuse by Reagan at Rancho San Antonio. The "disturbed" caller was told that Reagan "left the HC Brothers, married, became a cop in Oxnard, and then Regan [sic], his wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident." A detective with the LAPD also called the order several times in early 2003.
The file contains nothing indicating that the order knew about the abuse before the survivor called, but there are at least four pages missing from the file as released (Bates numbers BOHC/REAGAN 078-081). Some documents raise concerns. One evaluation states that Reagan "seems to have a great deal of natural ability to work with boys" and that he has "shown signs of immaturity in judgment." Another observes that he "has had a little trouble adjusting to the less manly Brothers but has more or less outgrown it. It should not bother him anymore. Friendly, takes active part in rec. May be a little prone to scandal at first due to naivete." The order's concern for such issues can also be seen in a questionnaire that asks reviewers whether applicants to the order are "manly and virile" or "soft or feminine." Reagan's Salesian reviewer replies, "I did not notice."
Here is the entire Reagan file, re-processed to make it searchable and easier to download than the files as released.
Rev. John Peter Lenihan
John Peter Lenihan's 269-page file from the Orange diocese is among those that have been released. Lenihan requested laicization at the insistence of Bishop Tod Brown on March 28, 2002, and his laicization was granted two months later, on May 28, 2002, an unheard-of level of efficiency in a Vatican laicization bureaucracy that usually takes years to decide a case. Why the hurry?
The new documents reveal that in 2001-2002, after Lenihan had resigned over an interview with Steve Lopez at the LA Times, revealing sexual misconduct and disagreements with the church regarding celibacy, he retracted his resignation, admitted the truth of the interview to his bishop, lied about it to parishioners, and was removed. The diocese then learned that he was violating a therapeutic relationship with a woman, abusing her sexually, and exposing her handicapped child to explicit phone sex voicemails left on the woman's home answering machine. What's more, people knew about this latest sexual misconduct. The woman's lawsuit and its shocking exhibits provide the real context for Lenihan's rapid laicization.
Much earlier in his career, when the Diocese of Orange had received an allegation on March 25, 1988, from the mother of a 16-year-old girl whom Lenihan had been abused, the priest was left in ministry, and less than a month later, his positions as diocesan consultor and member of the council of priests were confirmed. By 2002, things had changed.
Here is the entire Lenihan file, re-processed to make it searchable and easier to download than the files as released.