Judge plans to release Mahony's deposition in priest sex abuse case
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge signaled Thursday that she would approve the release of depositions by Cardinal Roger Mahony and other senior figures in the Los Angeles Archdiocese once the names of victims and others entitled to privacy are removed from the transcripts.
Judge Emilie H. Elias ordered lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and for alleged victims of clergy sex abuse to sit down and make the necessary redactions by the end of this week. She was responding to a motion by the Los Angeles Times to obtain access to the documents.
The questioning of Mahony in January and a former vicar for the clergy last fall fills more than 600 pages of transcript. Lawyers for those who have sued church leaders alleging they knew or should have known about pedophile priests in their midst questioned the cardinal and Msgr. Richard Loomis about molestations of young boys by a defrocked priest, Michael Baker.
Baker is now in prison and reportedly cooperating with a grand jury investigation into possible culpability of the church hierarchy for failing to report priests' confessions of abuse to law enforcement.
A spokesman for the archdiocese, Tod Tamberg, said the redactions ordered by the judge "will satisfy the privacy concerns we have." He said the depositions contain nothing new and that the cardinal's statements to the lawyers were "consistent with what was said and has been written about regarding Michael Baker."
Nonetheless, a lawyer who has represented accused priests in the archdiocese, Donald Steier, indicated he would challenge Elias' decision on release of the depositions once she makes a formal ruling after the redactions, likely early next week.
--Carol J. Williams
Photo: Cardinal Roger Mahony
Credit: Los Angeles Times