By Kay Ebeling
With reckless disregard, the Catholic Church was covering up crimes of pedophile priests as recently as 2003, alleges an April 2009 lawsuit (Complaint scanned in part below with outstanding quotes.) As I read this yet another set of documented charges, I can’t help thinking, these lawsuits are no longer about one plaintiff or even individual victims.
The general public suffered damages as well, because anywhere these priests went, children were at risk, and considering how hard it’s been for the few victims, now adults, who have come forward with charges, and how often children repress memories and never recover them, there is no way to know how many Americans got sexually molested by predator priests. How can so much pedophilia take place in an institution as influential as the Roman Catholic Church, without repercussions?
Read the documents below and see if, about halfway through, you don't start feeling outrage, wanting to shout, Enough. Where is law enforcement. How can thousands of sex crimes against children not only go unprosecuted, but the major perpetrators are still influencing American government and culture.
The boy in this case was 14 at the time of the crimes.
Click docs to enlarge and read.
The Diocese of Rome “knew or should have known about Father Lopez’ dangerous propensities and tendencies as a child molester, sexual harasser, and sexual abuser, prior to transferring him to serve as a priest for Defendant The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles.”
The defendants had a duty to provide but never provided Plaintiffs, his parents, or students and other parishioners with notice of Father Lopez.
While plaintiff was a student at St. Thomas, defendants “engaged in a pattern and practice of employing other child molesters and staff known to be a danger to minors in their care.”
“This belief is based on the fact that Church, hierarchical, and/or school records of defendants
“Reflect numerous incidents of in appropriate sexual contact and conduct with minors by priests,” and other employees.
Defendants should have known about Father Lopez’ past sexual abuse of minors, past arrests, charges, claims and investigations, and his propensity and disposition to engage in unlawful activity and unlawful sexual activity with minors.
Defendant should have known that Father Lopez would commit wrong. They could have avoided placing Lopez in a place where he interacted with children.
“Instead defendants ignored and/or coverd up the sexual abuse of Plaintiff and others by Father Lopez that had already occurred.”
Par. 27: Defendants “conspired to and did knowingly fail to take reasonable steps.
28. “With actual or constructive knowledge that defendant Father Lopez was incapable of supervising and or stopping child molesters,
Instead placed “those molesters in a function or environment in which supervision of employees whose contact with children is an inherent aspect of that function or environment.
29. “Failed to report and did hide and conceal from students, parents, parishioners and law enforcement, the true facts and relevant information
31. THE WORD FRAUD
is not used enough in these cases:
“Intentionally, conspiratorially, and fraudulently attempted to hide and conceal.
“Cardinal Roger Mahony, the ‘Archbishop,’ ‘Cardinal,’ and hierarchical leader of defendant along with Father Lopez:
“Created and implemented a ‘Conspiracy of Silence’
Mahony Created and Implemented a Conspiracy of Silence
“A policy and procedure whereby any and all allegations of sexual misconduct
“Would be immediately squelched, concealed, and hidden from the public, parishioners, and law enforcement,”
Mahony continued his conspiracy of silence throughout his tenure as Archbishop or Cardinal. A policy and procedure of concealing and hiding allegations
Defendants 1- 100 had “more than 125 separate individuals working within their ranks who had been accused of sexual misconduct with minors.
After hearing the report about Father Lopez, Defendants,
“Immediately implemented the ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ - an elaborate scheme which had already been in place.
“After getting actual knowledge that Father Lopez was a sexual abuser, Defendants intentionally sent Father Lopez to minister and tech in low income and primarily Hispanic parishes and schools, because of their lack of knowledge of laws and customs of the United States and the State of California, their reticence and reluctance to contact and deal with law enforcement, and their devotion to the Roman Catholic Church.
“The sexual abuse committed by Father Lopez was a result of the tolerance and culture of sexual abuse fostered by defendants.”
32. Destroying and Manipulating Evidence
“purportedly ‘confidential’ information obtained about plaintiff and plaintiff’s family members to further conceal the sexual misconduct and to allow him to escape civil and criminal liability for sexual abuse of Plaintiff and likely many other minors of which defendants were aware, by destroying and manipulating evidence. “
The Church used information they had about the plaintiff and his family against him.
“To enable or aid in their conspiratorial plan to shield the sexual abuse committed by Father Lopez from the parishioners, the public, and law enforcement.
33. Defendants also implemented various measures designed to make Father Lopez’ conduct harder to detect including but not limited to:
a. Failing to disclose Father Lopez’ prior record
b. Permitting him to remain in a position of authority and trust
C. Placing him in a separate and secluded environment, including placing him in charge of young boys as a teacher, in counseling programs and youth programs, which allowed him to sexually and physically interact with and abuse the children, including Plaintiff.
d. Allowing Lopez to come into contact with minors, including Plaintiff, without supervision.
e. Failing to adequately hire, supervise or retain Fater Lopez, who they permitted and enabled to have access to minors.
f. Failing to investigate to confirm or deny facts, including prior arrests, charges, claims and investigates into sexual abuse of minors.”
Because of the positions in which Defendants placed Father Lopez:, he was able to use his position as a priest, teacher, and spiritual advisor to require children to give in to his sexual suggestions. and to use his authority and position of trust to exploit them physically and emotionally.
Plaintiff born 1988
Raised by his mother and grandmother, no father figure
In or about 2003, Lopez began grooming Plaintiff and his family, taking an interest in their health and financial matters.
“To gain the trust of Plaintiff’s grandmother, Father Lopez
Lopez “Offered to and did provide financial assistance to Plaintiff’s family, purchasing medicine for Plaintiff’s grandmother, food for Plaintiff and his grandmother, and school uniforms for Plaintiff. FATHER LOPEZ also regularly provided transportation.”
For the whole family.
“Empowered by , and within the full knowledge of defendants, FATHER LOPEZ obtained the trust of Plaintiff’s grandmother”
“Used his position of trust and authority to sexually abuse, harass, and molest Plaintiff as soon as he befriended him in 2003, and continued doing so for a period of approximately a year.”
“On numerous occasions, and in various locations, including on the grounds of St. Thomas the Apostle.
“Defendants’ conduct made it a virtual certainty that Plaintiff and other minors would be victimized.
MORE ON GROOMING
“While with Plaintiff, Father Lopez attempted to get increasingly and physically closer to Plaintiff, before during and after services, parish functions, and religion courses by
“Isolating Plaintiff for periods of time from other parishioners, his classmates, friends and family.”
“insinuate(d) himself into Plaintiff’s life by trying to gain Plaintiff’s friendship, trust, and affection.
Lopez would “do favors of Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s grandmother.
“Frequently gave money and gifts.”
Plaintiff thought Father Lopez was a friend. “In fact Father Lopez was merely initiating the process of grooming Plaintiff for sexual abuse, gaining access to Plaintiff sexually.
“In 2003, when Plaintiff was fourteen years old, Father Lopez began sexually harassing molesting and abusing Plaintiff.
(Details are on Page 15)
(At first I wasn’t going to copy any of these details, but then realized, if I'm not willing to face the harsh truth of these crimes, how can we expect the public, the prosecutors, even judges to be willing to truthfully look at these crimes, so:)
MODUS OPERANDI OF A PREDATOR:
“He would ask Plaintiff in appropriate lascivious questions about Plaintiff’s sexual activities.
“Touching plaintiff’s arms and legs; touching Plaintiff on his thighs and knees; and attempting to coerce plaintiff to masturbate Father Lopez and to perform oral sex on him.
At age 14 it started with:
Fondling and groping knees, thighs and chest of plaintiff.
“Immediately after hearing Plaintiff’s confession, hugging Plaintiff tightly to his body and pressing his erect penis against Plaintiff.
“Father Lopez grabbing and fondling his penis and testicles, masturbating plaintiff and orally copulating plaintiff;
Father Lopez requiring Plaintiff to fondle Father Lopez’ body.
Father Lopez forcing Plaintiff to fondle Father Lopez’ penis through his clothes.”
It happened in “various locations throughout Los Angeles county.”
At St. Thomas, Plaintiff was abused: “church and school office, confessional room, and rectory.
Lopez’ private bedroom at the rectory.
In Lopez’ motor vehicle.
“Hugging Plaintiff tightly to his body and pressing his erect penis against Plaintiff
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TOLERANCE OF CHILD SEXUAL MOLESTATION AND ABUSE
Defendants hid the crimes:
“To block public disclosure
To avoid scandal
To avoid the disclosure of their tolerance of child sexual molestation and abuse
To preserve a false appearance of propriety
To avoid investigation and action by public authority including law enforcement.”
To protect their reputation and
“to protect the monetary support of defendants while fostering an environment where such abuse could continue to occur.”
Defendants among other things were able to sustain the status of being institutions of high moral repute and to preserve their reputations.
They owe it to the public to
Lawsuit asks in Para 128 - f that the Defendants:
“Disclose to Plaintiff, his family, the public, the church community, the school community, students, minors, and law enforcement agencies the wrongful tortuous and criminal acts of FATHER LOPEZ and others."
REMEMBER this is 2003 when these allegations took place:
Since most lawsuits settle before going to trial, the evidence behind the allegations rarely becomes public. Dozens of felons, who are powerful and influential individuals, have gotten away with thousands of sex crimes against children, in an organization that has almost a stranglehold on media and governments in the U.S. and around the world.
THIS WAS 2003
The entire Los Angeles region has a right to know how these crimes took place.
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