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Thursday, May 20, 2010

UNDER OATH: Levada Deposition Reveals Cardinal All But Shrugged Off Early Reports of Child Molestation by Priests

Starting up again from page 42 of Deposition of William Levada for the United States District Court of Oregon Jan. 9, 2006, during the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, bankruptcy.

Attorneys for plaintiffs in dozens of child sex abuse lawsuits seized the opportunity to depose the Cardinal in San Francisco, as the previous year he had transfered to The Vatican while new lawsuits were being filed against his employee priests for pedophilia.

Plaintiffs ask the Cardinal about internal attempts to address the pedophile epidemic in the Catholic Church as it began to become evident in the 1980s and 1990s, during Levada's rise to power. Since 2005 Levada has been in the Pope's old job at the Vatican reviewing crime reports against priests, after being Archbishop of Portland and San Francisco and auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles.

The Cardinal claims little or no knowledge of priests molesting children in the '80s and '90s, and admits to taking little or no action about the predations, as more and more allegations came up. These quotes are from pages 42 to 57, of 167 pages.

As City of Angels reads through the depo, we copy and paste here, for the record, with occasional comments in [brackets] from the journalist who writes this blog, who is also one of hundreds of thousands of adult victims of pedophile priests in the world today.


KELLY CLARK Q: He mentioned that he read at least a version of the report. He didn't know if it was the final version or not. [Cardinal Levada,] at any time as Bishop of Portland, do you recall attempting to implement anything from the Doyle/ Peterson report into the policy of the archdiocese?


Q: What was the purpose of them presenting the report to the conference?

A: [This is what college writing professors call Gobbledeegook] The purpose was to, was to execute the mandate that had been given to us; that is, to be the interlocutors with these three persons who had come to the Conference, to be the first persons to visit with them and to give a preliminary response, from our review of the document, to the persons at the Conference who handle such issues and make judgments about them. We were not at a level to do that.

Q: What was your reaction to the materials you read from Peterson, Doyle, Mouton?

A: My general reaction, as best I recall it, was that the case they presented was more aggressive in its response than the facts as I knew them warranted. So-- I’ll just put it that way.

Q: The case?

A: The general situation about clergy abuse of children.

Q: Okay, not referring specifically to the Gil Gauthe situation in Louisiana, but the global picture?

A: Correct.

'The case they presented was more aggressive in its response than the facts as I knew them warranted’

Q: So their description of the problem of clergy abuse in the church, you felt, might have been overstated?

A: It seemed to be too dependent on the Guathe situation, which I suppose I looked on as a more, as a unique phenomenon.

Q: Do you recall your reaction to the content of the report as it described the phenomenon of pedophilia itself?

A: I do not recall my reaction to that.

Q: When you were in Rome at the North American College, never heard anything about this problem of priests abusing kids?

A: I'm I didn't.

Q: and then you were five years in parish work in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, including college teaching and campus ministry. In all those years, never heard about priests abusing kids?

A: Never.

Q: Same question St. John’s Seminary School of Theology. [Just north of Los Angeles on the coast] No rumors, anecdotal stories, nothing about priests abusing kids?

A: Nothing.

[Remember, the Cardinal is under oath.]

Q: And the same would be true up until the time you came to Portland?

A: Right.

Q: Who made the appointment of you and Bishop Quinn to do this work [with the Doyle Peterson Mouton report]?

A: Probably the general secretary.

Q: Do you recall if it was Roger Mahony?

A: No.

Q: Did Mahony have any involvement?

A: No, he would not have.

Q: What happened to the Doyle/Peterson Report after your role in presenting it to the bishops?

MS. McNAMARA: Objection. Vague. [McNamara is the Cardinal's attorney]

Q: Well, let me ask it differently. What do you recall that the Conference of Bishops did in response to the presentation of the report?

McNAMARA: Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

Mr. CLARK: Go ahead if you can understand it.

WILLIAM LEVADA: Once transmitting the material and giving a preliminary evaluation, I was no longer involved in the process of evaluating the proposal or of creating a general Conference response.

[We Are Talking About Sexual Penetration Of Children Here!!!!]

LEVADA: But it is my recollection that the conference decided not to follow up on the specific proposal that Peterson, Doyle, and Mouton made.

Q: Do you know why?

A: No I do not.

Q: You said before, correct me if I'm wrong, by “too aggressive” did you mean in describing the scale of the problem of priest molestation of kids.

McNAMARA: Objection. Misstates facts.

[No it doesn't]

A: Yes I think that's correct, yes. And too aggressive regarding the response.

Q: Do you recall specifically what you thought was too aggressive in its description of the problem? Let me put it differently. What was your impression of the scale of the problem at the time the Doyle/Peterson [WHY do they always leave out the name Mouton?] report was presented to the bishops?

[Mouton was the attorney who DEFENDED Gilbert Gauthe]

A: My impression, apart from the Gauthe case, was that the few instances of this sexual abuse that had come to my attention were being handled appropriately by diocesan bishops. And that while we needed to pay attention to this matter and protect children, that a broad scale national effort in that regard was- was- did not seem to be called for at that time.

'Did not seem to be called for at that time.'


[Wait a minute here, Doyle/ Peterson/ Mouton made their report in 1985. Gilbert Gauthe was convicted that year of raping 39 children after a trial and complicated prosecution. Bishop Accountability profiles Gauthe here under G

Gauthe was first widely publicized abuser. First allegations against him came out in 1983. Convicted in 1985 of abuse of as many as 39 young children between 1972-1983. Served 10 years in prison. Multiple civil suits and settlements. In 1997 he pled no contest to abuse of 3 yr old boy in Texas. 7 yrs probation. As of 2008, Gauthe was living near Houston, TX. He was arrested 4/08 because he failed to register as sex offender. Served 2 yrs county jail. Released 4/23/10.

Deposition transcript excerpts continued:

Q: What were the cases that had come to your attention?

A: I don't recall.

[Hah! He forgot Gauthe?!]

Q: Okay, I thought you told me before-

A: My exposure. We were talking about my experience as auxiliary bishop, priest, and so forth. But once I became a bishop, I heard, then, about different-

Q: Oh.

A: -situations that, from- in committee work and so forth that brought one or other case to my attention, not in any detail.

[Man, does that sound like the stumbling of a liar to anyone else reading this?]

Q: At the time you left Portland in 1995, would you have held that same view?

A: That's a good question. At the time I left Portland, I believe that the work done to date by the Conference of Bishops was right on track.

To Be Continued

Previous reporting here on the Levada Jan 2006 deposition was posted on AlterNet part 1: And on AlterNet part 2

This Blog Posted by Kay Ebeling, The City of Angels Is Everywhere

PS: We are up to page 57 of 167 in deposition transcript.

Lots more stories coming

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