Mahony has long said he made mistakes in allowing Michael Baker to stay in the priesthood after he confessed to having sexually assaulted young boys.
But in the deposition — the first to be publicly released covering Mahony’s handling of Los Angeles Archdiocese molestation cases — the cardinal gives the clearest picture yet of his actions regarding Baker, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for child molestation.
The archdiocese attempted unsuccessfully to have a judge seal the document from public view.
Mahony said in the Jan. 25 deposition that church policy at the time was to deal with problem priests “pastorally” by providing counseling in church facilities and restricting their duties in subsequent ministries to keep them away from children.
“The challenge is trying to look at 1986 through the lenses of 2010,” Mahony told attorney John Manly, explaining that more proactive measures are taken now after reports of abuse.