Prosecutor Says Church Could Help Priest Flee

By Steve Chawkins
Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles CA]
April 10, 2003

To the apparent dismay of a judge, a Ventura County prosecutor claimed in court Wednesday that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles might finance the possible flight of a retired Roman Catholic priest charged with child molestation.

Told later about the allegation, a spokesman for Cardinal Roger Mahony called it "reprehensible" and demanded an apology.

The scenario surfaced at a bail hearing for Father Carl Sutphin, 70, who was arrested in Ventura last week on charges that he had sexually abused four boys in the 1970s.

Arguing for increased bail, Deputy Dist. Atty. Doug Ridley pointed out that Sutphin had lived with the cardinal and a few other priests in a Los Angeles chancery during his final years as a priest. Earlier in his career, he had worked at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Camarillo and as a chaplain at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard.

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