TO THE REPORT TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD
Notes to Our Special Edition
These notes describe the origins of the Addendum and our edition, the color-coding of our edition, the differences between the archdiocese's two versions of the Addendum, and the important question whether the Addendum's summaries of priest personnel files are complete.
On October 12, 2005, the Los Angeles archdiocese released an Addendum to its Report to the People of God – the Report had been issued a year and a half previously, on February 17, 2004, and three errata were issued subsequently (1 2 3).
The Addendum contained information on archdiocesan educational programs relating to abuse, a list of 26 additional priests who had been accused since the original report, and summaries of the personnel files of priests accused of abuse. We have OCR scanned the text of the October 12, 2005 Addendum and posted the result as two Web pages (1, 2), which can be navigated and consulted more easily than the original PDF. We have used an unobtrusive color coding, so that the various kinds of information in this important document are easier to find. See below for a color key.
One month after the Addendum was released, the Los Angeles archdiocese
issued a revised version of the Addendum. So there are two versions of
We have chosen to reproduce the original version as an HTML page, but we have noted the discrepancies between the two versions below and in our Web version.
We have tried to present the text exactly as it is in the PDF version of the Addendum, with its occasionally inconsistent treatment of date formats, capitalization, and titles. We have marked corrected typos using square brackets [ ]. A few punctuation errors were silently fixed.
Our one innovation has been to use unobtrusive bolding and color to make the personnel file summaries easier to read:
1) Alzugaray – It appears that the main reason for releasing a revised version of the Addendum was to remove the name of an alleged victim of Msgr. Joseph Francis Alzugaray in the summary of Alzugaray's personnel file. The archdiocese made additional changes to the Alzugaray summary, removing details of the alleged abuse in such a way that the gender of the alleged victim was no longer evident. Here are the two versions of the Alzugaray summary, with the altered passages marked:
3) Dober – Dober's 2/1/01 assignment to St. Anthony of Padua in Gardena was removed and a footnote was added explaining that Dober actually continued as pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary in Paramount.
3) Small Changes in Wording – Minor revisions were made on pp. 1, 6, 38 (a typo corrected and "Halfway House" corrected to "halfway house" in the Dawson summary), 50, and 51.
Note: The Los Angeles Times has also released an HTML version of the Addendum's personnel summaries, as part of its remarkable database of accused LA priests. The LA Times version is based on the revised 11/15/05 version of the Addendum, and does not include the front part of the Addendum, i.e., the information on archdiocesan educational programs relating to abuse and the list of 26 additional clerics who had been accused since the original report.
When the Addendum was released by the Los Angeles archdiocese, some news reports announced that Cardinal Mahony had released the "personnel files" about which Mahony had long been claiming "prelate privilege." In fact, Mahony's Addendum contained only brief summaries of selected documents in some accused priests' files.
A more reliable early assessment was Archdiocese Says It Didn't Shield Kids from Priests, by Jean Guccione and Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times (10/12/05). Survivors expressed understandable skepticism about the Addendum. See, for example, Records' Release Is Criticized: Critics Dismiss As a PR Ploy the Disclosure by the L.A. Archdiocese of Documents on Priests, by Jean Guccione and Sandy Banks, Los Angeles Times (10/13/05). But the Addendum did contain information about assignments and allegations that had not been available before. As part of the LA Times's remarkable database project, Jean Guccione and William Lobdell used this information in the Addendum to critique the earlier Report to the People of God, with important results: Details on 11 Priests Missing in '04 Report: Mahony's Disclosure on Sex Abuse Claims Left out Information on Clerics Who Stayed in Ministry, by Jean Guccione and William Lobdell, Los Angeles Times (4/20/06).
Critiquing the Addendum itself has proved more difficult, because the actual personnel files that might be used to gauge the Addendum's completeness are not available to the public. An exception was L.A. Confidentiality: No New Info on an Accused Former Priest, by Rick Anderson, Seattle Weekly (10/19/05). Building on earlier reporting by Anderson, the article showed that the Addendum's summary of Rev. R. David Cousineau's personnel file omitted an allegation of sexual abuse, and it must be assumed that the allegation was documented in Cousineau's file. See also Mahony Accounts of Abuse Case Tape Differ: Plaintiffs Say He Gave the Vatican a Graver Version of Priest's Role Than He Gave the Public, by John Spano, Los Angeles Times (3/20/07), and our Example of the Rev. Lynn Caffoe File: Secrecy and Reluctant Revelation in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
There is one neglected resource that could be used to assess the Addendum's accuracy: the documents released by the diocese of Orange as part of their settlement with abuse victims. (For background on this document release, see Orange Diocese Gives Details on Sex Abuse, by William Lobdell and Jean Guccione, LA Times, 5/18/05).
The Orange diocese had been spun off from the Los Angeles archdiocese in 1976 (see our map of California dioceses), and at the time, many LA priests became Orange priests. Some of those new Orange priests already had a history of abuse in the Los Angeles archdiocese. For this reason, the documents released by the Orange diocese might allow us a limited view of the Los Angeles archdiocesan files.
Let us take the example of Rev. Eleuterio V. Ramos, an admitted serial pedophile now deceased. Here is how the Addendum summarizes the LA archdiocese's Ramos file. I appears that the LA archdiocese has in its files information about both the LA and Orange stages of Ramos's career, and that the LA phase was an uneventful sequence of ordination and assignments to parish work:
But we know from the Orange diocesan Ramos file that Ramos offended in the decade during which he was an LA priest, and we also know that the LA archdiocese ordered him into treatment and paid for the therapy. See Chancellor Rawden's 3/27/75 letter to Vicar General Hawkes, telling Hawkes that Ramos will be requesting funding for therapy "suggested by the district attorney as a result of a recent incident." Dr. Klaus Hoppe, who would treat Ramos's sexual problems for years afterward, began his work while Ramos was still an LA priest, as can be seen from Ramos's 4/1/75 letter to Hawkes.
Why isn't Ramos's 1975 offense "summarized" in the Addendum? Was Ramos's file moved to Orange when the Orange diocese was created? As luck would have it, the Orange documents show that the LA archdiocese had a copy of Ramos's LA file, even though he had moved on to Orange. On 6/19/02 (over three years before the LA archdiocese released its Addendum), the Orange vicar general, Msgr. John Urell, sent to the LA vicar for clergy, Msgr. Craig Cox, "everything from [Ramos's] personnel file prior to the establishment of the Diocese of Orange." "You asked for everything," writes Urell.
Did Urell's package contain the correspondence about Ramos's 1975 offense? We can be quite sure that it did. We know that the 1975 correspondence was in Ramos's Orange file in 2005, because it was released as part of the settlement. We also know that it was part of the file in 1985, because on 9/24/85 then-chancellor Msgr. Michael Driscoll included the 1975 Ramos correspondence in an inventory of Ramos's Orange personnel file. Driscoll was arranging with the Tijuana bishop Emilio Berlie to transfer Ramos across the border after Ramos reoffended in Orange. If the 1975 correspondence was in Ramos's Orange file in 1985 and in 2005, it must have been in the file in 2002, when a copy of "everything" in the file was sent to the LA archdiocese.
It is clear that in the case of Rev. Eleuterio Ramos, the summary in the Addendum is not "complete and accurate," as the Addendum claimed. Why is this? The Ramos summary was prepared by the archdiocese's lawyers from a "proffer" of the file that had been submitted to the Court. The Court had compared the proffer to the "the original files of the Archdiocese to determine that it was complete and accurate." The Court's work on these files was the responsibility of two respected judges, Peter D. Lichtman and Charles McCoy. (See the Addendum's description of this process.)
So when did the 1975 Ramos offense disappear from the record? Did the archdiocese neglect to include it in the original proffer that it submitted to the Court? If so, the archdiocese must have also neglected to include the 1975 correspondence in the personnel file that it also gave the Court. Otherwise, the Court would have noticed the discrepancy and remedied it.
Or perhaps the 1975 offense was in the proffer, but the archdiocese's lawyers decided to omit it from the summary in the Addendum.
Whatever the explanation, the Addendum does not provide a "complete and accurate" description of a serial pedophile who worked in the archdiocese of Los Angeles for a decade. It hardly seems possible that this omission was an accident, since the LA archdiocese had specifically requested Ramos's file from Orange a few years previous. Was the Ramos paper trail particularly embarrassing, because the vicar general who handled the Ramos case in 1975, Msgr. Benjamin Hawkes, was himself accused of abuse (see his listing in Mahony's 2004 Report to the People of God)?
The Addendum is a useful source of information, but it is clearly not the "complete and accurate" source of information that it claims to be.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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