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You are here News Of Special Interest Priest files reveal disturbing stories of child molestation, coverup

Priest files reveal disturbing stories of child molestation, coverup

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Priest molestation filesMore disturbing stories of priests' molestations of children -- and questionable actions by church leaders -- emerged in 12,000 pages of once-confidential personnel files.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles posted the documents on its website Thursday night, an hour after a Los Angeles judge ended 5-1/2 years of legal wrangling over the release of the files with an order compelling the church to make the documents public within three weeks.

Victims, their lawyers, reporters and other members of the public spent hours Friday poring through records that stretched back to the 1940s and provided details about the scope of abuse in church ranks never before seen.

The archdiocese of Los Angeles learned in the late 1970s that one of its priests had sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy so violently that he was left bleeding and "in a state of shock." The priest said he was too drunk to remember what happened and officials took no further action.

But two decades later, word reached Cardinal Roger M. Mahony that the same priest was molesting again and improperly performing the sacrament of confession on his victim. The archdiocese sprang to action: It dispatched investigators, interviewed a raft of witnesses and discussed the harshest of all church penalties — not for the abuse but for the violation of church law.

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