Four years and nine months have passed and Manuel Vega is still waiting for the promised documents. He blames the lawyers, on both sides, for the lengthy wait. At the center of the debate is the release of documents detailing the activities of and disciplinary actions against priests charged with molesting children.
Manuel Vega was in the courtroom when the Los Angeles Archdiocese agreed to pay clergy abuse victims a landmark $660-million settlement. The bailiff had to whisk some of the victims out to make room for all the high-fiving lawyers filing in for their payday, he says.
“Some were even chest-bumping,” recalls the retired police officer. “To me, it looked like a frat party.”
Vega, who says he was molested as a boy by a priest in Oxnard, went along with the settlement only because his attorneys assured him the church would turn over confidential personnel files that would reveal the truth about priest abusers, and those who shielded them, including Cardinal Roger M. Mahony. Four years and nine months later, Mahony is retired, but not a single page from the files has seen the light of day.
Complaints about the delay have become a litany trotted out every year, along with accusations the church is stonewalling to protect its own, and Mahony’s, legacy. What’s different about Vega’s complaint is that he blames not only the church but his own lawyers.
“They took the money and ran,” he says. LA Times, 28 April 2012.
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