Victim of priest molestation urges Pope Francis to defrock Mahony
A man who will receive part of a $10-million settlement from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for abuse by a former priest on Thursday called on the new pope to punish church leaders who had covered up molestation of children.
Michael Duran, one of four men who settled with the church over claims that they were abused by former cleric Michael Baker, said there should be consequences for Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who had learned of Baker's abuses in the 1980s but allowed him to remain in ministry.
"I hope the new pope defrocks the cardinal," Duran said at a news conference outside a downtown L.A. courthouse.
Baker, a convicted pedophile, has been accused of harming at least 23 boys during his three decades in the priesthood. Mahony has said he was most "troubled" by the case of Baker, whom he allowed to remain in the church after the man personally confessed to the former archbishop in 1986 that he had molested two boys.
Duran will receive nearly $1 million for what he described as repeated "rape" dating from the 1980s. As his wife stood beside him, he said he believed he was one of the two children Baker was speaking of when he confided to Mahony.
"He made the decision not to look for me, to get me the help I needed," he said.
His attorney, John Manly, said law enforcement had failed to hold the cardinal and other church leaders criminally accountable. The settlement announced this week was the first since the January release of 12,000 pages of internal church records that showed the cardinal and his top aides had discussed shielding abusive priests.
The cardinal has apologized for his handling of Baker. A church attorney said this week that the archdiocese has "taken responsibility" for harms caused by the ex-priest.
-- Victoria Kim
Photo: Michael Duran, who will receive nearly $1 million in a sex abuse settlement with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, holds up pictures of himself when he was a child after a news conference on Thursday. Duran wants Pope Francis to defrock Cardinal Roger Mahony over his role in the cover-up. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images