Alleged Priest Abuse Victim Speaks out
By Dawn Megli
Annenberg TV News
March 1, 2013
|Rita Milla has been litigation with the church over abuse allegations for more than two decades.
A Los Angeles woman and alleged priest sex abuse survivor spoke out Thursday on the changes she wants to see in the Catholic Church. Rita Milla appeared with Attorney Gloria Allred to discuss the lawsuit she filed against the LA Archdioses and Catholic priests, calling for change in the Catholic Church.
Milla claimed she was abused by seven different priests over a four-year period at several Los Angeles-area churches in the 1980's. When she eventually became pregnant, she says the men sent her to live with some of their relatives in the Philippines to hide her pregnancy. According to Milla, her parents were told she was studying abroad at the time. When she returned with an infant daughter, the priests offered no assistance. Milla sued for $21 million in 1984, according to the Los Angeles Times.
At Thursday's press conference Allred provided a statement on the lawsuit which said, "In 1984 we filed a lawsuit on behalf of Rita against the LA Archdiocese and the seven Catholic priests who had abused her. On the day that we filed this lawsuit all seven priests suddenly disappeared from their parishes making it difficult or impossible to serve them with the lawsuit."
While the LA Archdiocese said they would help find the missing priests, the Church aided in the cover-up and an obstruction of justice, said Allred.
In a statement read by Milla Thursday she said, "The church needs a Pope who will actually care more for his flock than the superficial image of the clergy. We now need a Pope with a sense of compassion and the morals and strength to use his power to protect the Church's children and vulnerable adults."
"The new Pope must provide new and meaningful leadership in handling sex abuse in the Catholic Church... The new Pope needs to remove the stigma of abuse from the victims and place it on the perpetrators. He needs to speak to the worldwide church and place the blame where it belongs, on the guilty."
She also apoke about Cardinal Roger Mahony's involvement in next month's conclave to select a new pope.
Advocates for victims of priest sexual abuse have protested the prospect of Mahony casting a ballot in the College of Cardinals meet. Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles, has been implicated in helping shield abusive priests from prosecution.