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Crimes of the Clergy Are Not Above the Law

April 17, 2002

Re "Mahony Regrets Transfer of Priest," April 13: It's one thing to set up and support a system of institutionally supported denial--as Cardinal Roger Mahony has tried to do--in the case of priests who have molested children. It's another to be a "leader" in one of the largest cities in the United States, a city with facilities that set standards in their fields, like Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and know nothing about them.

Cardinal Mahony didn't know that the hospital had a pediatric unit? I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Carol P. Bartold



Child molesters are felons. Those who know of their crimes and actively cover up for them--thereby enabling them to commit more crimes--are also felons. At best they are partners in the act, no better than the molester. At worst, since they are in a position of authority and have the ability to stop the crime, the molesters become their agents, and their crimes originate from their seats of power. At the very least it's called aiding and abetting. A crime, right?

So, my question is simple. Why haven't the police arrested these men? There is certainly enough evidence, a lot of which is now public. Is it that district attorneys and cops across our land are afraid of the titles "cardinal" and "bishop," or has money changed hands, or what? I'm stumped. There has to be a reason. In the meantime, we have another example of unequal justice.

If John Q. Public had done the same thing, he'd be sitting on cold cement and the world would be a slightly safer place.

Tom Hammond

San Juan Capistrano

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