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Joseph H. Saunders
| Saunders and Walker

I appeared on Fox 13’s Your Turn with Kathy Fountain this week to discuss the recent abuse settlement in Los Angeles. As I stated on the program, the institutional secrecy that is so much a part of the fabric of the Catholic Church has contributed to the sex abuse scandal. This is quite evident in the case of Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles who fought the survivors in court until it was obvious to him (and to everyone else) that he couldn’t hide behind his robes any longer. On the eve of a public trial during which Mahony would have been forced to testify about his role in the sex abuse scandal, he decided that it would be better to make the whole thing disappear by offering $660 million to those abused by Catholic priests in Los Angeles. In settling with the 500 or so plaintiffs, Mahony avoided having to air his dirty laundry in a public forum. Because of this settlement we may never know the extent of his involvement nor the level in which bad priests were protected from authorities and allowed to continue to prey on children. This isn’t justice. Unfortunately, it allows Mahony to continue in his position as leader of the Catholic Church in Los Angeles without the public ever knowing his betrayal of the faithful’s trust.

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