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  Church Releases Report on Abuse

By Karen Rubin karen.rubin@sgvn.com
San Gabriel Valley Tribune [California]
Downloaded February 18, 2004

Ten local priests have been accused of molesting 75 children, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles reported Tuesday in an unprecedented accounting of sexual abuse by clergy.

Since 1955, priests from El Monte, Walnut, Azusa, Covina, La Mirada, San Marino and the Pasadena area were accused of sexual misconduct. The names were culled from civil lawsuits, criminal records and grand jury investigations.

The history of abuse and the archdiocese's attempt to cooperate with authorities and stop the abuse is chronicled in a 22- page document "Report to the People of God: Clergy Sexual Abuse Archdiocese of Los Angeles 1930-2003.'

The report states 244 priests, deacons, brothers, seminarians and one man posing as a priest throughout Los Angeles County sexually abused 656 children, 519 of whom were boys and 137 of whom were girls. Some of the allegations were discredited, the report states.

It also reports that sexual abuse was "woefully underreported.

Of the 244 clerics accused of sexual abuse, 16 remain in the ministry because the allegations have not been deemed credible, the report states.

Among the local priests listed in the report are: Michael Baker, Michael Carroll, Albert Duggan, David Granadino, George Gunst, Christopher Kearney, John Kohnke, Theodore Llanos, Richard Loomis and Larry Lovell.

The document includes the names of the priests, the number of alleged victims and the years the alleged abuse took place. The names of the churches where the clergy worked were omitted.

After decades of complaints, secrecy and the shuffling of the accused to different churches and parishes, the report is the first-of-its kind to be released by the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, head of the nation's largest archdiocese, apologized in the report and at a Monday evening Mass attended by priests and clergy.

"I sincerely apologize to anyone who has suffered from sexual misconduct or abuse by a priest...,' Mahony wrote in a letter introducing the report. "I acknowledge my own mistakes during my 18 years as your Archbishop. Apologies are vitally necessary, but, of themselves, are insufficient.'

Mahony was listed in the report for having two alleged victims during 1970-1993. But those claims were never substantiated.

Locally, victims panned the report as a veiled attempt by the church to wash its hands of a scandal that has plagued it for decades.

At a small rally Tuesday outside Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles, several members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests asked Mahony to remove nine active priests facing civil lawsuits alleging child abuse.

"We feel sad that the cardinal's decision to name abusers in his archdiocese's report was not to genuinely protect children, but to avoid criticism and is the result of pressure, court orders and exposure for refusing to remove molesters from the ministry,' said Mary Grant, a SNAP director.

Grant, 40, a former Covina resident, was molested by an Orange County priest from when she was 13 to 18.

After 28 years, Michael Patrick Falls, a former West Covina resident, says he is still haunted by the touch of Father Ted Llanos. The short, balding priest was suspected of molesting dozens of boys over a 20- year period at St. Louise De Marillac Church in Covina.

Falls compared the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to the Mafia.

"The Catholic Church is participating in organized crime and it is not gambling and it's not the numbers game,' Falls said. "It's the molestation of children and it is the protection of priests who molest children.'

Before Llanos committed suicide in 1997 in Washington, D.C., he was assigned to six parishes, usually those in which an elementary school was part of the parish. Llanos once faced 38 felony criminal counts in connection with the allegations, but a judge dropped all charges in 1996 because they were too old to be tried.

In 1996, nine former altar boys, including Falls, sued the archdiocese and Llanos. They alleged sexual assault and battery, emotional distress, negligent supervision, fraud and conspiracy to suppress facts. But the state refused to hear the civil suit because the statute of limitations had expired.

"The effects of the abuse lingers for a lifetime,' Falls said.

At the St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church in Walnut, no one would comment on the report, which comes on the heels of a civil suit against Rev. Michael Carroll. The victim who filed the suit alleges Carroll sexually assaulted her from 1967 to 1971, when she was 14. At the time of the alleged abuse, Carroll was serving at St. Anselm's Catholic Church.

Carroll has denied any wrongdoing and on Tuesday refused comment on the report.

As the church bells rang in downtown Los Angeles, others outside the Catholic church found the report an insincere attempt at gaining forgiveness.

"Cardinal Roger Mahony and his brother bishops have proven themselves to be completely without credibility when speaking on this tragic issue,' said Attorney John C. Manly, whose firm represents more than 50 victims.

"This horror can only be prevented from happening again by demanding accountability from the men who raped and violated children and the men who protected these violent criminals.'

For copies of the report, see www.la-archdiocese.org.

-- Karen Rubin can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109, or by e-mail at karen.rubin@sgvn.com .

 
 

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