Priests: L.A. Cardinal Was Assaulted

Associated Press, carried in Centre Daily Times
December 5, 2007

LOS ANGELES — An attack on Cardinal Roger Mahony by one or more people upset over the Roman Catholic Church's sex-abuse scandal was never reported to police, who Wednesday were trying to contact Mahony for questioning.

Detectives cannot investigate until the crime is reported, said Capt. Jodi Wakefield, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's central area.

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony speaks at a news conference Wednesday, June 14, 2006, in Los Angeles. Cardinal Mahony was attacked by one or more people apparently angered by the Catholic Church's sexual-abuse scandal, according to priests who heard him discuss the assault. The story was first reported by the Los Angeles Daily News on Tuesday Dec. 4, 2007.

"He's the victim. He has to make a crime report and that's what we're trying to find out, what he wants to do," Wakefield said.

She said police had contacted church officials and were waiting to hear from Mahony himself.

Priests have told The Associated Press and other news outlets that in late July or early August Mahony was knocked down and kicked by one or more people as he was dropping off letters at a mailbox near Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles.

Mahony, who heads the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese, was hospitalized and it took the 71-year-old cardinal several weeks to recover, Rev. Joseph Shea, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Glendale, told the AP on Tuesday.

Mahony told colleagues about the attack during a conference in October, saying he was assaulted because of the church scandal. His remarks were first reported Tuesday by the Daily News of Los Angeles.

Shea said Mahony did not report the attack to police "because he felt he could offer it up in reparation for the sins of others."

The Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese has declined to comment.

"The annual meeting of archdiocesan priests is a private meeting. Any conversation that took place during that meeting was between the priests and their bishop," spokeswoman Carolina Guevara said in an e-mail.

Mahony told the priests the remarks his attackers made indicated they were unhappy over the sex abuse scandal that resulted in the archdiocese paying hundreds of millions of dollars to people who said they were sexually abused by priests, Shea said.

The church's $660 million settlement with 508 alleged victims was approved July 16.

Mahony came under fire from victims and attorneys who said he moved sexually abusive priests to different parishes.

Church officials have said Mahony tried to reach out to victims, meeting with many of them and their families.


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