Mahony Alleged to Be in Contempt

Associated Press, carried in Pasadena Star News [Los Angeles CA]
July 2, 2004

Attorneys for alleged clergy sex abuse victims have asked a judge to consider holding Cardinal Roger Mahony in contempt of court for resisting depositions in cases that date to his years as bishop of Stockton.

Mahony now heads the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest in the nation. The contempt motion targeting him was filed late Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court.

Attorneys want to question Mahony because he led the Diocese of Stockton from 1980 to 1985 and supervised Father Oliver O'Grady, who was later convicted of child molestation.

The Stockton diocese previously paid two brothers $7 million in damages after a jury found it didn't do enough to prevent the abuse by O'Grady.

Attorneys want to depose Mahony in six other civil lawsuits because they believe he knew O'Grady was a pedophile but still transferred and promoted him.

Mahony has repeatedly said he has no knowledge of the Stockton cases in question because they occurred in the 1970s, years before he took over as bishop.

In Los Angeles, Mahony is battling to keep 2,000 pages of confidential priest files from being made public. A retired judge is considering whether to make the records available to a grand jury investigating possible criminal charges.

The archdiocese also faces more than 400 civil cases filed by people alleging abuse by priests.

Lawyers for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles denounced the contempt allegation. They said Mahony was willing to be deposed but the stay on the cases went into effect before both sides could agree on the terms of the questioning.