A Morada attorney specializing in clergy abuse cases calls Cardinal Roger Mahony's apology to hundreds of people getting settlement money rather shallow.
Attorney Larry Drivon, with offices in Stockton, accused Mahony of apologizing for what priests, deacons and lay people in the Los Angeles Archdiocese did, but he didn't apologize for his own role in covering up sexual abuse.
"In 1984, Roger Mahony put a noose around his own neck, and it became tight this weekend," Drivon said Sunday evening.
Mahony was bishop of the Stockton Diocese from 1980 to 1985 while former Lodi priest Oliver O'Grady sexually abused children and adults.
"If Roger Mahony had dialed three simple numbers in 1982, or in 1984, none of this would come to pass," said attorney Larry Drivon, who has offices in Stockton. "Those three simple numbers are 9-1-1."
If Mahony had called police in the 1980s, O'Grady would have been in prison for years for sexual assault long before his 1993 conviction in Calaveras County, Drivon said.
That would have been the right thing for Mahony to do, Drivon said, and it would have saved the Los Angeles Archdiocese $660 million in settlement payments.
O'Grady, subject of the 2006 film "Deliver Us From Evil," which received an Academy Award nomination for best documentary, pleaded guilty in 1993 to four counts of sexual abuse with children under 14 in Calaveras County. He was paroled in late 2000 and deported to his native Ireland a short time later.
O'Grady was a priest at Lodi's St. Anne's Catholic Church from 1971 to 1978 and later served at parishes in Stockton, Turlock, Hughson and San Andreas.
Had Mahony cooperated with police in prosecuting O'Grady in the 1980s, it is unlikely that the California Legislature would have allowed clergy abuse victims to sue churches and dioceses during the 2003 calendar year, Drivon said. The legislation waved the statute of limitations for that year, resulting in a multitude of lawsuits throughout the state.
Therefore, victims wouldn't have been allowed to sue, Drivon said. The Los Angeles Archdiocese wouldn't have had to sell off its property to pay off settlements, and other dioceses wouldn't have filed for bankruptcy protection, he added.