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L.A. Now Live: How was troubled ex-priest hired by LAUSD?

February 5, 2013 |  8:37 am

An ex-priest who allegedly admitted a sexual relationship with a minor remained employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District for more than a decade despite several warning flags about his background, according to interviews and records.

Times staff writers Howard Blume and Richard Winton will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss the case of Joseph Pina.

Pina admitted to repeated "boundary issues" with women throughout his career in the clergy, according to internal church documents. An internal 1993 psychological evaluation by the L.A. Archdiocese concluded that Pina "remains a serious risk for acting out."

Nine years later, L.A. Unified hired him as a community outreach coordinator for its $19.5-billion school-construction effort. In that position, Pina came in frequent contact with families at community events but did not work directly with children in schools.

No allegations of impropriety have emerged during Pina's employment with L.A. Unified. But L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy said the district has severed ties with Pina, adding that the district should have never hired him given his background.

A church spokesman said Monday that it did warn the school district in the form of a questionnaire that L.A. Unified sent to the archdiocese in August 2001.

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