Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Lawsuit Filed under Racketeering Law Charges Cover-Up. (Church in Crisis)

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Lawsuit Filed under Racketeering Law Charges Cover-Up. (Church in Crisis)

Article excerpt

On May 20, a former altar boy charged sexual molestation by Fr. Michael Stephen Baker, 54. The boy's lawyer, Jeffrey Anderson, according to the next day's Los Angeles Times, told reporters, "Cardinal Roger Mahony belongs in prison for aiding and abetting Michael Baker, for protecting a pedophile priest."

Three other complainants are party to the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Courthouse under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. The complaint alleged that for 14 years, from 1975 on, Baker abused at least a dozen young boys, and that even after Baker admitted his abuse to the cardinal, the archdiocese failed to keep the priest away from youngsters and did not report the abuse to police, the Times reported.

Mahony referred to the racketeering charges as "baseless and irresponsible," the paper stated. (RICO convictions permit tripled damages.)

A week earlier, the newspaper reported that Mahony, who transferred Baker nine times to other parishes after 1986, made confidentiality a condition of $1.3 million settled on two male complainants, brothers, who alleged that as boys Baker repeatedly molested them over a 15-year period.

Baker had already told the Times that in 1986 he'd informed Mahony he'd "abused `two or three' children. Baker said the cardinal did not press him for details and he did not provide any. Late in 2000, the cardinal arranged for Baker to retire quietly from the priesthood without notifying law enforcement authorities or informing parishioners of the alleged abuses."

The new allegations concern abuse that occurred after Baker informed Mahony of his past.

In May Mahony told the Times he would provide all relevant records to the district attorney and, "we told [Los Angeles Police Department] detectives whatever they wanted, they could have."

On Aug. …

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