LOS ANGELES (CN) - Catholic bishops "facilitated the sexual molestation of children by engaging in the international trafficking of known child molesting priests," alleged victims of clerical abuse claim in court.
The latest lawsuit alleging a decades-long conspiracy to facilitate and cover up priests' sexual abuse of children was filed Tuesday in Superior Court, as the Catholic Church's conclave met to elect the new pope, who was chosen on Wednesday.
The 18-page complaint names names, including former Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, Bishop Thomas Curry, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, but the only defendants are Defendant Does 1 through 1,000, church officials and dioceses that allegedly participated in the shuffling of predatory priests from parish to parish, including across the U.S.-Mexico border.
The four Juan Doe plaintiffs claim they were sexually abused by a priest in Los Angeles in the 1980s.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese stripped Cardinal Mahony, its former archbishop, of his public duties after it was revealed that he plotted to conceal child sexual abuse by priests, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to the Superior Court complaint: "The Catholic bishops in the United States, Mexico and other Latin American countries have long facilitated the sexual molestation of children by engaging in the international trafficking of known child molesting priests. The bishops have done so to prevent the priests form being prosecuted and to avoid scandal. The bishops have subjected Catholic families and children in these communities to known pedophiles, counting on the devotion and reverence in the communities to keep any further abuse by the priests secret.
"Father Nicholas Aguilar-Rivera (hereafter 'Father Aguilar-Rivera'), a priest at San Sebastian Martyr church in the town of Cuacnopalan, Puebla, Mexico, sexually molested numerous children in 1986. When the abuse became known in the community, a group of parents physically confronted Father Aguilar-Rivera. Local police became aware of the incident. Father Aguilar-Rivera sought the assistance of his bishop, defendant Doe 6, then the bishop of defendant Doe 5, a Roman Catholic Diocese in Tehuacan, in Mexico. Defendant Doe 6 and defendant Doe 5, despite being aware that Father Aguilar-Rivera was accused of molesting numerous boys, facilitated the transfer of Father Aguilar-Rivera to Los Angeles and the defendant Doe 1 Archdiocese. Defendant Does 5 and 6 also counseled Father Aguilar-Rivera to have psychiatric help because of the incident. In January and March of 1987, using coded language used by the bishops to facilitate the international transfer of child molesting priests, defendant Doe 6 informed Cardinal Roger Mahony and the defendant Doe 1 Archdiocese that there were accusations of Father Aguilar-Rivera molesting children.
"Despite this knowledge and these warnings, Cardinal Mahony and defendant Doe 1 Archdiocese assigned Father Aguilar-Rivera as an associate pastor at defendant Doe 2, a Catholic parish in a predominantly immigrant Hispanic community known as Rose Hill, just east of downtown Los Angeles. Immediately after his arrival, Father Aguilar-Rivera began having altar boys and students from the parish school come to his rectory bedroom. This conduct was known by defendants and their employees at defendant Doe 2, including a parish secretary. This conduct was known by the defendants to be strongly suspicious of child sexual abuse."
Rather than investigate complaints against the priest and report him to law enforcement, the Archdiocese reassigned him to another parish several miles away, the complaint states. At the new parish, Aguilar-Rivera continued to pull children out of classes and bring them to his bedroom. He also kept in touch with children from his former parish and their families, according to the complaint.