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Cardinal Mahony under federal fraud probe over abusive priests, sources say [UPDATED]

January 28, 2009 |  4:43 pm

Mahony The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles has launched a federal grand jury investigation into Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in connection with his response to the alleged molestation of children by priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the case.

The probe, in which U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O’Brien is personally involved, is aimed at determining whether Mahony, and possibly other church leaders, committed “honest services fraud” by failing to adequately deal with priests accused of sexually abusing children, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

One federal law enforcement source said such a prosecution could be brought under a federal statute that makes it illegal to “scheme ... to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.” In this case, the victims would be parishioners who relied on Mahony and other church leaders to keep their children safe from predatory priests, the source said.

-- Scott Glover and Jack Leonard

Read the full story on the federal probe at latimes.com.

Updated at 10:10 a.m.: Listen to a KNX radio interview with Mahony here.

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