Crime & Justice

LA Archdiocese: Clergyman acquitted of sexual misconduct allegations

Msgr. Richard Loomis refused to comment at his Carson, Calif. home on the civil lawsuit against the Los Angeles Archdiocese alleging sexual abuse, Saturday, March 5, 2011.
Msgr. Richard Loomis refused to comment at his Carson, Calif. home on the civil lawsuit against the Los Angeles Archdiocese alleging sexual abuse, Saturday, March 5, 2011.
Gus Ruelas/AP

A high-ranking clergyman has been cleared of suspicion of sexual misconduct, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles  announced Saturday.

Msgr. Richard Loomis was acquitted of charges of sexual misconduct that were made in 2003 by a Tribunal of the Holy See, the archdiocese said. 

In a statement posted Saturday, the archdiocese said:

After ten years of exhaustive investigation and canonical trial, a Tribunal of the Holy See has definitively determined and ruled that no allegations of sexual misconduct of any kind alleged against Monsignor Richard Loomis have been proven. Monsignor Loomis has always professed his innocence of these accusations.

The statement said Loomis had been placed on "temporary inactive ministry" following the allegations. Now that he's been cleared, he'll regain his position as a priest in good standing, it said.

A report posted on the archdiocese's website suggests Loomis was accused of making lewd remarks and attempting to grope a student from his Bible study class, as well as abusing students at a high school when he was a teacher, prior to being ordained.

You can read more on the allegations made against Loomis at the archdiocese's website or below

Loomis is also known for his role in the investigation into L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony 's handling of allegations of priest sexual abuse. At the time, Loomis was the vicar for clergy and played a part in advising Mahony on matters of abuse. 

In a 2009 deposition, Loomis said he'd advised church officials back in the 1990s to go to the police over allegations of priest abuse, but was rebuffed.

NPR obtained a copy of the deposition and interviewed the plaintiff's attorney John Manly in 2010: 

Describing the deposition to NPR later, Manly said that Loomis "flipped" right in the middle of the deposition.

"You know, how you used to see on "Perry Mason" or "A Few Good Men," when someone actually flips on the stand? It just doesn't happen. And here it did," Manly said.

Later in the deposition, Loomis said he suggested that the archdiocese should alert all the parishes about [admitted child molester Rev. Michael] Baker's activities, in case there were other victims. Again, the cardinal declined.

"I was upset because I felt we should have made the announcements," he said. "It was the right thing to do."

Loomis says he considered resigning, and suddenly, an increasingly agitated lawyer for the archdiocese, Donald Woods, stood up and grabbed Loomis in an angry bear hug, physically restraining him from talking.

Representatives for the archdiocese were not available for comment Sunday.

Browse documents related to Loomis' case: 

Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to attorney John Manly  as a prosecuting attorney. Manly represented alleged victims of Rev. Baker as part of their civil suit.