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Records of sexual abuse by San Diego priests to be released Sunday

After a wait of three years, documents detailing the sexual abuse by San Diego Catholic priests that led to a $198.1-million settlement with victims are set to be released Sunday afternoon.

A San Diego County Superior Court judge late Friday ordered the release of the documents.

“These documents show how it happened,” said attorney Anthony De Marco, who represented victims. “They help give insight into how such travesty can occur on such a large scale … placing the institution above protecting children. … I think to ever remedy a problem, you have to understand it.”

In San Diego, as in other dioceses with abuse allegations, victims and their families alleged that even after they complained of the maltreatment, nothing was done, and in some cases, the priests were merely transferred.

The release of information is set for Sunday afternoon and will be posted online by the attorneys.

In September 2007, after years of negotiations and courtroom skirmishes, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego announced a $198.1-million settlement with 144 sexual abuse victims. One condition of the settlement is that diocese records about the priests and allegations be released.

In February of that year, the diocese filed for protection in Bankruptcy Court on the eve of the first abuse case going to trial. The bankruptcy filing put the court cases on hold.

But the bankruptcy judge proved unsympathetic to the argument by diocese lawyers that paying settlements could devastate the church’s ability to carry out its spiritual and social-service missions. Among other things, the judge said the diocese’s financial recordkeeping was byzantine and its settlement offers far below what other dioceses were making in similar abuse cases.

The settlement called for the diocese to pay $77 million and its insurance carrier $75 million to settle 111 cases. Religious orders would pay $30 million for 22 cases. The Diocese of San Bernardino, once part of the San Diego Diocese, would pay $15 million for 11 cases.

On the day the settlement was announced, San Diego Diocese Bishop Robert Brom issued a written statement restating an earlier apology to abuse victims: “I am very, very sorry for the suffering we have caused them, and I pray that they will walk with God for a renewed life.”

The diocese, soon after filing for bankruptcy, released the names of 38 priests whom it said were the subject of “credible allegations.” None was still active in the church; some had long since died.

In San Diego, as in other dioceses, victims alleged that even after they complained of the maltreatment, nothing was done and, in some cases, the priests were merely transferred.

Covering San Diego and Imperial counties, the San Diego Diocese has 99 parishes, 274 priests and a Catholic population of nearly 1 million. Soon after the 2007 settlement, Brom appealed to parishioners to increase their contributions to the church to help pay the settlement.

 -- Tony Perry and Carla Hall


Comments () | Archives (11)

The Catholic church should just admit they are simply a front for child molestation.

This is great news. Many Catholics I know have failed to educate themselves about the extent of the abuse and cover-up. I'll be sure to email them the link to these documents. I wonder if every Catholic church in San Diego announced this news today.

I agree that in order to remedy a problem you have to understand it. Perhaps understanding a religion from it's jewish roots is a good place to begin.

People blame the Catholic Church for the actions of their Priests, to have error is to be human! The fact that they were Priests has nothing to do with the Catholic Religion, yes it was wrong, very wrong but the Catholic Church does not encourage this type of behavior. Yes they should have handled it differently but, Catholicism is not to blame, those who abused are to blame. There are Catholics that lose faith because of those sinners. I don't condone their actions and sympathize to those who were affected, but my Faith will not be lost because the faults of men even if they are men of God. That would be like losing faith in democracy because some government officials are corrupt.

Clearly, this scandal with the Church comes down to two main issues. First, do they practice what they preach and second, what's in their hearts. How many priests out there who truly live the life of the gospels? How many priests who literally practice what they preach? How many priests who try to go through the narrow door as opposed to the open wide gate? How many of them literally take up their cross and follow Christ? Or are they mostly addicted to their comfort zones(i.e.salaries, good benefits, free housing, free food ect.?) Secondly I question what's in their hearts? How many priests practice the virtue of humility, chastity and obedience to the word of God? These virtues are the keys to authentic Christian discipleship. Just because they are in a position of influence and power is not a license to abuse innocent children! It's about time for a badly needed reforms in the Church.

The Catholic church should lose its tax exemption status. In fact, all religions should lose it.

They like to teach other people to feel guilt about everything, including thoughts. These people felt no guilt in committing an heinous crime, then transferring and protecting the guilty, and then covering up their involvement as long as they could. And then after all their lies, they get exposed, and then try to claim bankruptcy so they don't have to pay their victims. Sounds to me that the Catholic church is one of the worst organizations in the world. Amazes me that people still support them by giving them money to continue their evil ways.

Two good Sundays in a row:
-----last Sunday, almost 5,000 backlogged LA county rape kits finally going forward for testing and hopefully some criminal prosections.
-----This Sunday, San Diego Catholic clergy molesters/rapists files released.

Will the LA Catholic clergy molestors/rapists files be released on a Sunday too?

This is "good news!" Much better than going to any Mass and getting more of Mahony's and his co-horts' gospel of spin/lies/deceit as people wait for his archdiocese's sexual predator clerics/employee's files to be released.

Disclosure of this information is perhaps painful for victims and their families. A huge benefit is, however, it will help us know what situations to avoid. This will hopefully lead to a huge reduction in these crimes.

The Catholics commit sexual abuse, here's a case of financial abuse: http://texsquixtarblog.blogspot.com

As a Catholic myself, who hasn't practice the religion in well over 35 years and not because of any abuse issues, because back then it was not widely known, but simply because I have over the years discover that God/intelligent design has nothing what so ever to do with religion. Never the less it bothers me because once again it places God/intelligent design in a position of defense. As a believer in a God/intelligent design I should, like science never have to defend that belief, because like science/big bang there is more then enough evidence to support that belief. I'm well aware of what some will do with this story and I would be the last to caution what you say. But in your judgement, if we take 'mankind' out of the picture, then we have no abuse.


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