At least two of the more than 100 L.A. County priests accused of sexual misconduct had ties to Los Alamitos and Seal Beach, newly released church records show.
Last week, the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese released roughly 12,000 pages of clergy personnel files as part of a $660-million settlement with about 500 alleged sexual-abuse victims. Included in the files is a former priest at St. Isidore in Los Alamitos.
The documents indicate Rev. Albert Duggan was serving as pastor of St. Isidore in Los Alamitos from 1948 to 1950. He died in 1979. Additionally, accused Rev. Cleve Carey was living in Los Alamitos from 1976 to 1977 and in Seal Beach from 1977 to 1982. Carey died in 1988.
According to a 2003 report to archdiocesan parishioners, Carey and Duggan were among 210 church officials accused of sexual misconduct with minors since 1930. Casey’s alleged crimes occurred from 1963 to 1966 and involved two accusers. Duggan allegedly assaulted three youths between 1963 and 1971.
A Los Angeles judge’s decision to require the priests to be identified in the personnel files was the culmination of years of legal wrangling over whether priests’ names should be redacted from the paperwork.
Unlike 82 other files, which contained information on allegations of child sexual abuse, the remaining 42 files, including those for Carey and Duggan, contain "proffers," which are summaries compiled in anticipation of litigation.
The files are available online at http://clergyfiles.la-archdiocese.org. Click the PDFs under the image on the right to read the proffers on Carey and Duggan, or to read the judge's ruling that led to the release of the files.
One judge originally ruled the archdiocese could remove the names of priests and church leaders from the personnel files, but that decision was later reversed by a different judge. Despite some last minute legal jockeying, the archdiocese agreed to include names in the files.
The archdiocese released the files within hours of that decision. Reached for comment, Stephen Bohannon, spokesman for the Diocese of Orange, said the diocese didn’t even exist at the time the alleged crimes took place. Until 1976, Catholic churches in Orange County were part of the Los Angeles archdiocese, according to Bohannon.
Bohannon said the church has received no calls about the issue from parishioners who wanted more information. However, he said, any parishioner who asks would be told the diocese didn’t exist at the time of the accusations.
Bohannon said any churchgoers who feel they or someone they know has been abused should call their diocese’s sexual abuse hotline.
“It’s like a help line which people can call,” Bohannon said. “It’s all about keeping our children and youth safe.”
For more information, visit http://www.rcbo.org/protecting-children-and-youth.html
There aren’t any current priests in Orange County under investigation by the Orange County or Los Angeles district attorney’s offices, added Bohannon.
Archbishop Jose Gomez issued a statement on the archdiocese's website, saying that while the files document abuses that occurred decades ago "that does not make them less serious."
"I find these files to be brutal and painful reading," Gomez said. "The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed."
Gomez said his predecessor—former Archbishop Roger Mahony —will "no longer have any administrative or public duties." Meanwhile, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, Mahony's former top adviser on sex-abuse issues, stepped down as Santa Barbara's regional bishop.
Gomez noted that archdiocese officials have apologized for actions of the past and taken wide-ranging steps to prevent abuse and report it quickly if it does occur.
In a later statement, Gomez said “Cardinal Mahony, as archbishop emeritus, and Bishop Curry, as auxiliary bishop, remain bishops in good standing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction.”
--City News Service contributed to this story.