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L.A. Now Live: L.A. priest abuse files, Mahony's apology

January 22, 2013 |  6:51 am

Internal Catholic church records released Monday show that 15 years before the clergy sex abuse scandal came to light, then-Archbishop Roger M. Mahony and a top advisor discussed ways to conceal the molestation of children from law enforcement.

Times reporters Harriet Ryan and Victoria Kim will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss the records.

Ryan, Kim and staff writer Ashley Powers reported that the records offer the strongest evidence yet of a concerted effort by officials in the nation's largest Catholic diocese to shield abusers from police. The newly released records, which the archdiocese fought for years to keep secret, reveal in church leaders' own words a desire to keep authorities from discovering that children were being molested.

The records contain memos written in 1986 and 1987 by Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, then the archdiocese's chief advisor on sex abuse cases. In the confidential letters, Curry proposed strategies to prevent police from investigating three priests who had admitted to church officials that they had abused young boys. Curry suggested to Mahony that they prevent the priests from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and that they give the priests out-of-state assignments to avoid criminal investigators.

Mahony, who retired in 2011, has apologized repeatedly for errors in handling abuse allegations. In a statement Monday, he apologized once again and recounted meetings he's had with about 90 victims of abuse.

"I have a 3 x 5 card for every victim I met with on the altar of my small chapel. I pray for them every single day," he wrote. "As I thumb through those cards I often pause as I am reminded of each personal story and the anguish that accompanies that life story."

"It remains my daily and fervent prayer that God's grace will flood the heart and soul of each victim, and that their life-journey continues forward with ever greater healing," he added. "I am sorry."

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