Catholic Priest Removed from Church for Sex with High School Girl

Contra Costa Times
February 12, 2011

LOS ANGELES - A Catholic priest who admitted having a sexual relationship with a high school girl in the 1960s has been removed from the church, and a high-ranking priest in charge of background checks tendered his resignation to Cardinal Roger Mahony.

The church, reacting to questions by a reporter from The New York Times, announced Friday night that the Rev. Martin P. O'Loghlen, who worked at Holy Name of Mary Church in San Dimas, was removed from the church, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Separately, Mahony accepted the resignation of the Archdiocesan Vicar for Clergy, Msgr. Michael Meyers.

Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg told the Los Angeles Times that Meyers held that position since July 2009 and was in charge of procedures intended to ensure that no sexual predators remained in ministry positions.

According to the archdiocese, the San Dimas church has not received any recent complaints about O'Loghlen.

He was assigned there two years ago but, in placing him there, church officials did not fully consult records that indicated O'Loghlen's past admission of sexual misconduct, according to a statement from the archdiocese.

O'Loghlen, now 74, eventually sought forgiveness from the girl, saying he was a sex addict, according to church officials.

Members of the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, were enraged that nothing was done about O'Loghlen until a reporter started nosing around.

"It's yet more proof that the Catholic hierarchy isn't serious about better protecting kids and gives only lip service to being more honest about pedophile priests," Barbara Dorris, a member of the St. Louis SNAP chapter.

Dorris claims that, in the late 1990s, Mahony appointed O'Loghlen to a church panel that was charged with handling clergy sex cases. The victim sued the church in an Arizona court and, in 1999, agreed to settle the case for $100,000.

In 2003, the church sent O'Loghlen to the Philippines for a five-year stint. Dorris said Meyers should have been fired, instead of being allowed to resign.

In 2007, the archdiocese agreed to pay about $660 million to 508 people who accused priests of sexual abuse. The payout was the largest settlement in a scandal that involved an estimated 5,000 priests nationwide and cost the Roman Catholic Church more than $2 billion to resolve cases in this country.

Mahony is due to turn over the reins of the church in Southern California to Jose' Gomez on Feb. 27, when Mahony turns 75 - the mandatory retirement age as dictated by the pope.

The three-county Los Angeles archdiocese is the most populous Roman Catholic archdiocese in the nation, with about 5 million adherents.

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