Does Cardinal Roger M. Mahony deserve a prison scentence?

More evidence has emerged that the Catholic Church enabled and covered up the criminal acts of paedophile priests. From the New York Times:

"The retired archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, and other high-ranking clergymen in the archdiocese worked quietly to keep evidence of child molesting away from law enforcement officials and shield abusive priests from criminal prosecution more than a decade before the scandal became public, according to confidential church records."

"Rather than defrocking priests and contacting the police, the archdiocese sent priests who had molested children to out-of-state treatment facilities, in large part because therapists in California were legally obligated to report any evidence of child abuse to the police, the files make clear."

Did Cardinal Mahony and other high-ranking clergymen break the law?

If so, what law? If not, should there be a law against what they have done?

Will any of them ever see the inside of a prison cell? 

Tags: pedophile, priests

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If only we could put the entire administrative heirachy of all the churches in prison for the fraud they perpetrate... What a day that would be!

At the very least, he is guilty of a misdemeanour which is failure to report child abuse. Many regions have such laws. I had to look it up for California, but the law includes clergy as mandatory reporters. I have seen two different penalties listed though. One is a fine of up to $1000 and up to six months in county jail, and the other is a fine up to $5000, and a year in county jail. Not sure which is currently in effect.

But in this case it does step beyond failure to report and into outright concealing the abuse, in which case I echo those who said 'obstruction'.

I think charges need to be pressed. If a man of the cloth chooses his religion over secular law, so be it, but I believe in that man's right to accept the consequences of his own actions. That said, my understanding is that the Vatican, on paper at least, does not support concealing child abusers and has instructed clergy to report offences to secular authorities. I don't really get the ins and outs of Catholic power structures, but it seems to me that he is out of order on both secular and religious fronts.

It seems the statute of limitations in California for obstruction of justice is three years, which limits the prosecutor's options. They could still be charged but some political and legal acrobatics would be required first. The California state legislature could pass a special measure that temporarily lifts the statute of limitations for obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy. They've taken similar steps before and for similar reasons.

Ah, I overlooked the timeline. That's what I get for skimming. Thanks for the info and the clarification.

Remember this from Dawkins and Hitch. I thought it was a brilliant idea !! 

What a tool.

Like to see him wearing that hat in prison

Yes, but not on his head - in a kind of 'rectory' way

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