Release Of Church Documents Unveils Years Of Abuse In Los Angeles

Cardinal Mahony
Cardinal Roger Mahony was relieved of his episcopal duties in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, following the release of files naming priest sexual-abuse cases (Photo by R. Stephenson-Padorn)

The admissions of the chief accused, Reverend Ruben Martinez, happen to be among close to 2,000 pages of private files that were unsealed this Wednesday, which accuse priests, brothers and nuns of being involved in child molestation for a long time, while they were working for the Los Angeles archdiocese. The archdiocese has itself released several thousands of such pages under a court-order this year, with regard to its very own priests who had been suspected of sexual abuse, however the complete picture of sexual abuse in the Los Angeles stayed vague without such records of religious orders.

What the documents reveal...

The documents label 10 priests/brothers along with two nuns as the main accused in the civil lawsuits for molesting children; most notable, the accused previously had 21 claimed victims between the years of 1950 and 1980. This release came with secret documents and other files from the Oblates, the Benedictines, the Marianists, and also two other orders for the religious sisters. Some documents seem to have huge gaps in time, while some records are incomplete. These papers, unveiled under the terms and conditions of the $660 million settlement deal reached 6 years ago in the 2007, are one of the initial glimpses at the things Catholic religious-orders suspected in connection with men and women they have posted. Dozens of files are likely to get released by this fall.

About the prime accused in the case

The files consist of over 500 pages concerned with a priest, Ruben Martinez, who worked for a religious-order known as the U.S. Province of the Missionary-Oblates of Mary-Immaculate, an almost 200-year-old Catholic institution having its roots in France. Based on the history of the records, the Los Angeles archdiocese had settled 8 lawsuits filed over Martinez's activities in the year 2007. The files disclose the years of hard work his order put in attempting to treat his pedophilia, which includes inpatient treatment, and procured decades of therapy.

As per the psychological accounts, the priest confesses to molesting children, starting in 1970. He quit having "direct sexual-contact" with the young boys after a mother had complained to his pastor in the year 1982, and even stopped touching boys after another such complaint recorded in 1986.

It's not clear whether or not his religious order (or perhaps the archdiocese) was actually aware about these complaints, however around that period Martinez went on therapy sessions every week . In 1986, he got into a counseling program intended for individuals with sexual compulsions and became a member of a gay-pride group.

Later, he was given inpatient treatment and was registered in a sex-offender program following another complaint that came up as a result of his past actions. In 2003, he was shifted to Washington, D.C. to work in the Oblates' offices.

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