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News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Priest files show key church figures conspired to hide child abuse from police

by Take Two®

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Cardinal Roger Mahony leads Christmas mass at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Services and celebrations marked the holiday throughout the world Saturday. Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez described the newly released personnel files of priests accused of child molestation as "brutal and painful" reading. The papers date back to the 1940s, and detail attempts by the church to shield known child abusers from law enforcement.

The church posted tens of thousands of documents on its website last night, as part of a 2007 settlement with victims of abuse. In an interview with KPCC, the plaintiffs attorney, Ray Boucher, criticized the way the files were released

"They were supposed to release to my clients. Instead they released them on a website. It was their way to control the story."

Archbishop Gomez released a statement to his parishoners last night, calling the behavior described in the files "terribly sad and evil." He announced that he was relieving Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony of his public and administrative duties and said he'd accepted the resignation of Monsignor Thomas Curry.

Curry was the former Vicar for clergy who worked with Mahony in the 80s. He was serving as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara. Cardinal Roger Mahony spent two decades at the helm of the country's largest archdiocese, but retired two years ago. Critics of the church say the decision to strip him of his public duties is a meaningless gesture.

The Archdiocese has not returned our request for an interview.

Father Thomas Doyle, a lawyer who investigated charges of sexual abuse in the eighties, joins the show to discuss the documents. He's also co-author of the book "Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse."

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