For years, many observers have marveled Cardinal Roger Mahony’s ability to allude much more than a blackened name and bit of battery from the clergy sex abuse scandal. But Teflon Rog may be no more. The LA Times is reporting that a federal grand jury is investigating Mahony’s handling of sexual abuse allegations. Here’s the story:
One federal law enforcement source said such a prosecution could be brought under a federal statute that makes it illegal to “scheme . . . to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.”
In this case, the victims would be parishioners who relied on Mahony and other church leaders to keep their children safe from predatory priests, the source said. To convict on such a charge, prosecutors would have to prove that Mahony used the U.S. mail or some form of electronic communication in committing the alleged fraud, the source said.
O’Brien declined to comment, refusing to even confirm the existence of the investigation.
Mahony’s attorney, J. Michael Hennigan, confirmed that federal prosecutors have contacted the archdiocese and requested “information about a number of individual priests, at least two of whom are deceased.” He said he was also aware that some witnesses had testified before the panel.
But Hennigan said he has been informed that Mahony is not a target of the inquiry.
“We have been and will continue to be fully cooperative with the investigation,” Hennigan said.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he had not heard about the investigation but welcomed the new scrutiny of Mahony.
“It is long, long overdue,” Clohessy said. “It is just crucial that the hierarchy face criminal charges, because almost every other conceivable means have been tried to bring reform.”
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