Los Angeles News

Priest abuse files: LAPD checking for criminal activity

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

With last week's release of thousands of church documents on clergy abuse, the LAPD is stepping in. Investigators say new legal charges are possible.

Detectives are focusing on the cases of about a dozen previously investigated priests and are auditing those past cases to see if anything was missed. They are also going over files of all the 122 priests made public last week by a court order.

"Most of these files have already had investigations done, and we weren't able to get a prosecution or we couldn't get to anything in terms of statue, so we're going to go back, kind of re-audit everything that we've done before," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

Authorities want to know if any crimes, such as failure to report child abuse, occurred.

Clergy abuse victims applaud the investigation, saying there is more information that needs to be released.

"Now, we have some evidence, and hopefully, the LAPD can get enough information for warrants for more information," said Joelle Casteix, SNAP western regional director.

Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other high-ranking church officials are under fire because the files show that they took steps to protect priests, and they did not report the abuse to authorities.

"We'll go wherever the investigative leads take us," Smith said. "These detectives are extraordinarily thorough, and they won't stop until they get to the end of the investigation. If there's something prosecutable, we'll definitely take it to the district attorney's office."

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles was hit hard financially by the abuse scandal and has announced a new fundraising campaign. In a statement, the church said, "We are in the midst of a feasibility study to determine the most effective way to conduct a $200 million Capital Campaign for the Archdiocese."

The statement says the funds would be put into endowments earmarked to support the pastoral priorities of the archdiocese, as well as general repair and upkeep of their churches and schools.

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child abuse, sex crimes, los angeles news, amy powell
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