Introduction to Clergy Files Produced by Archdiocese of Los Angeles
The 2013 public release of the files of clergy who were subject of the 2007 global settlement, concludes a sad and shameful chapter in the history of our Local Church. In the 2004 Report to the People of God and elsewhere, the Archdiocese acknowledged and apologized for failing to treat victims of abuse with compassion, as well as for employing what we now know to be inadequate standards for treatment and supervision of priests who were found to have abused children and young people.
The 2004 Report to the People of God provided a framework for understanding how the Archdiocese dealt with allegations of clergy sexual abuse over several decades. It also included the names of priests publicly accused of abuse, as well as those who were found to have committed abuse. Though the additional information provided with the release of the personnel files fits within the overall framework of the 2004 Report, and are themselves frequently decades-old, many will find the specific details contained within them to be troubling and upsetting.
While the files being produced have the names of persons who experienced abuse and third parties redacted and obscured, some may recognize their stories in the letters and memos in these files. We understand that this experience may be a difficult one. Through years of outreach to persons who experienced abuse, we have learned that feelings and reactions to these stories vary according to the individual. Please be assured that the Office of Victims Assistance Ministry is available to help.
Sad and shameful as the past history of sexual abuse is, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles can point to more than a decade of modern child protection efforts that are among the most effective in the nation at preventing abuse and dealing with allegations of abuse:
Additionally, the Archdiocese continues to reach out to victims of abuse and their families through our Office of Victims Assistance Ministry.
The Archdiocese again apologizes to all who were harmed in the past by clergy sexual abuse. We continue to pray earnestly that you and your families find emotional and spiritual healing. We also reiterate our firm commitment to remaining vigilant against any and all threats to our children and young people.
On July 15, 2007, Cardinal Mahony issued the following statement following the
"After much prayer, time, and effort by all of the parties involved, I am able to announce to you
today that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has reached an agreement in principle with attorneys
representing clergy sexual abuse victims in the 508 civil cases that remain filed against us.
"While there is still work to be done to finalize the formal agreement, I believe that this
agreement in principle represents a significant step toward final resolution of all of the sexual
abuse claims filed against the Archdiocese these past few years.
"The funding for the global settlement will be shared by the Archdiocese, Insurance Companies,
various Religious Orders, and other named parties. I am grateful to the several Religious Orders
which have stepped forward to take financial responsibility for cases in which their priests or
brothers were accused…."
Global Settlement Statement, July 15, 2007
"The Archdiocese humbly asks forgiveness from victims, their families and friends, from
the Faithful, and from society in general for the mistakes of the past. The facts and analysis of
the local Church's response to these issues are put forward so that people may understand how
choices were made, however flawed they all too often were."
- Introduction to the Report to the People of God, 2004.
Read Full Report:
Report to the People of God: Clergy Sexual Abuse Archdiocese of Los Angeles 1930-2003
On February 17, 2004, the Archdiocese published its
Report to the People of God: Clergy Sexual Abuse Archdiocese of Los Angeles 1930-2003
. The Report was an essential part of the
Archdiocese's ongoing effort to promote healing and reconciliation for victims, their families,
and the entire Church community, all of whom suffered as a result of sexual abuse by priests,
deacons, members of religious orders and others serving our Archdiocese over the years.
In detail, the Report explained procedures that the Archdiocese had put in place to safeguard our
children by dealing forcefully with abuse. The Report also set out, without attempt to excuse
mistakes that were made, the often painful history of how the Archdiocese's understanding of the
problem of sexual abuse evolved over the years, from the time when it was treated primarily as a
moral weakness and a sin to the adoption, in 2002, of a firm policy of zero tolerance.
Read More About the Report
Statement from Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, 1/21/2013:
"I apologized for all of us in the Church for the years when ignorance, bad
decisions and moral failings resulted in the unintended consequences of more
being done to protect the Church—and even the clergy perpetrators—than was done
to protect our children."
Read Cardinal Mahony's full Statement (Adobe PDF)
Statement by Bishop Thomas Curry, 1/22/2013:
"I wish to acknowledge and apologize for those instances when I made decisions regarding the treatment and disposition of clergy accused of sexual abuse that in retrospect appear inadequate or mistaken. Most especially, I wish to express my sympathy to all the victims of sexual abuse by clergy."
Read Bishop Curry's full Statement (Adobe PDF)
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has implemented rigorous polices and procedures to provide a safe environment in our parishes and parish schools for all children and young people. These include:
• "Zero Tolerance"'
• Guidelines for Adults Working or Volunteering with Minors
• Archdiocese of Los Angeles Boundary Guidelines for Junior High and High School Youth Working or Volunteering with Children or Youth
• Megan's Law Compliance Procedures
To view these and other policies:
In 2002 the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
drafted a landmark document in
response to the crisis of sexual abuse of children in the Church. This document,
setting forth their agreed upon responsibilities in combating the problem, was
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
charter specifically created the Office of Child and Youth Protection and
assigned to it three central tasks:
• To assist each diocese in implementing "Safe Environment" programs designed to
necessary safety and security for all children as they participate in church and
• To develop an appropriate compliance audit mechanism to assist the Bishops in
the responsibilities set forth in the Charter
• To prepare a public, annual report describing the compliance of each diocese
to the Charter's
In 2002, Cardinal Roger Mahony responded to the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops by establishing the
Office of Safeguard the Children
and the adoption of rigorous archdiocesan
policies, including the mandatory formation of Safeguard the Children Parish
Committees as a foundational measure in ensuring the safe environment of our
parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
is available below for download:
Booklet Version (PDF)
Full PageVersion (PDF)
Dealing with Allegations of Abuse
The Archdiocese treats all complaints of sexual misconduct seriously and
deals with such allegations in a prompt, confidential and thorough manner
with compassion and consideration for all those involved. In our proactive
effort to protect children, young people and other vulnerable people in our
schools, parishes and ministries, the Archdiocese offers a toll-free hotline for
reporting sexual misconduct: 1-800-355-2545.
Through this service, a
Victim's Assistance Ministry coordinator assists in the reporting of suspected
sexual misconduct or child abuse within our institutions and ministries and
ensures the proper notification to
Child Protective Services or the appropriate
law enforcement agencies.
Making a Report of Misconduct (Victim's Assistance Ministry)
Response to Complaints of Sexual Misconduct (Victim's Assistance Ministry)
Office of Safeguard the Children and the Formation of Safeguard the Children Parish Committees (Charter Article: 2)
The establishment of the
Office of Safeguard the Children
and the formation of
Safeguard the Children
Committees in parishes throughout the Archdiocese were mandated by Cardinal Roger Mahony in 2002.
These committees work actively with the VIRTUS® Training Program and involve law enforcement personnel, nurses, counselors and medical professionals among their members to assure that parish efforts are
comprehensive. The Office of Safeguard the Children assists these permanent Parish Committees in implementing child sexual abuse prevention education, Safe Environment policies, procedures and resources
in local parishes.
prevention training :
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education for Adults (Charter Article: 12)
Launched in 2002, the Safeguard the Children effort is intended to raise the consciousness of the entire community about issues of child abuse and neglect. The Archdiocese selected the
VIRTUS® Training Program
to implement Safeguard the Children.
VIRTUS® "Protecting God's Children"
is a three-hour training for adults which teaches the five basic steps of child sexual abuse prevention. This program is mandated for all adults who work with or around children or youth on a regular basis. More than 150,000
persons have attended the program. These participants have included all deacons,
priests and bishops in active ministry in the Archdiocese, all school and parish
personnel as well as all parents and volunteers working with children. As a
Archdiocesan policy, effective in 2005, all persons working with or around
children are now required to participate in the program.
For information call: (213) 637-7227.
Background Checks and Screening
(Charter Article: 13)
of Los Angeles has initiated background screening for all personnel and
volunteers who will be with or around youth. For persons who will be in a
supervisory role with minors, whether as paid staff or volunteers,
fingerprinting is a key component of the screening process. The Archdiocese has
purchased livescan fingerprinting machines and
provides fingerprinting without cost throughout the Archdiocese
enforcement agencies also have cooperated in providing access to fingerprinting
services. The Office of Human Resources oversees these efforts.
For more information call: (213) 637-7411 or visit:
Age-appropriate abuse prevention instruction –
Children and Youth Sexual Abuse Prevention Programs (Charter Article: 12)
Child sexual abuse prevention includes empowering children by teaching them body safety rules and steps they can take to ensure their own safety. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles currently offers the following
age-appropriate prevention programs
VIRTUS® Teaching Touching Safety
• Establishing Healthy Boundaries©
• Archdiocese of Los Angeles Self-Protection Program Grades 1-12
Parishes/schools can select from the programs listed above. All
these programs encourage parent involvement in reinforcing what their children
learn by providing parent information and materials so that parents may fulfill
their role as the "primary educators" of their children. For more information
age appropriate instuctional programs in the Archdiocese
, please contact the
office for Safeguard for Children: (213) 637-7227.
Reporting Child Abuse
Priests, deacons, school faculty and administrators and other staff members in our parishes and schools have been designated as
under California law. When one of these persons receives information leading to a "reasonable suspicion" that a child is being abused or neglected, he or she must make a report to the appropriate child protection or law enforcement agency.
For Information on Responding to an Allegation of Suspected Child Abuse:
The Office of Victims Assistance Ministry Helps Abused Victims Find
Healing (Charter Articles: 1, 2, 4,12,16)
Office of Victims Assistance Ministry
of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was created in April of 2002 to deal with allegations of past or current sexual abuse by clergy, religious or any lay person working or volunteering for the Archdiocese. The Office is charged with creating a safe and compassionate environment
for victims to come forward while ensuring that civil authorities are notified and victims are provided with counseling and other assistance in the healing process.
Call Victims Assistance Office (800) 355-2545 to:
• report misconduct by a priest, deacon or other person working or volunteering for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
• get information about the Archdiocese's ongoing commitment, programs and resources that focus on outreach to victims/survivors of sexual abuse.
• report abuse suffered in another diocese and to receive assistance in connecting with the appropriate persons in that diocese.
For more information, please visit:
"For more than a decade, however, few institutions have done as much as the Los Angeles Archdiocese to promptly report abuse allegations to civil authorities, to screen all those who supervise children, and to train adults and children in the latest abuse prevention procedures. The past cannot be changed, but we have learned from it. We are justifiably proud of our record of child protection in the 21st century, and we remain vigilant against all that would harm our children and young people."
Read Statement of Archdiocese of Los Angeles Regarding News Reports about Clergy
Abuse Documents, 1/22/2013 (Adobe PDF)