Confidential personnel records from five Catholic religious orders were turned over to victims of sexual abuse Wednesday in the first wave of a court-ordered public disclosure expected to shed light on the role the groups, operating independently of the L.A. Archdiocese, played in the region’s clergy molestation scandal.
The 1,700 pages released by the religious orders differ markedly from those disclosed in January by the Los Angeles Archdiocese to comply with the terms of its settlement with all victims abused within its three-county jurisdiction. The archdiocese handed over materials reflecting Cardinal Roger M. Mahony’s meticulous record-keeping of molestation claims and treatment of accused offenders.
When matters of abuse were referenced, officials sometimes seemed reluctant to commit the ugly details to paper. In the case of Benedictine priest Mathias Faue, one supervisor wrote vaguely of “his problem” or “difficulty.” In the file of Oblate Father Ruben Martinez, an order official repeatedly switched to Japanese characters to note sensitive subjects, including his admissions of “homosexuality” and “relations with boys.”
The files that do detail abuse allegations show superiors at order headquarters in Shawnee, Okla., Washington D.C., and other far-flung locales struggling to keep tabs on repeat molesters working in Southern California.