The Archdiocese of Los Angeles knew for at least 13 years that one of its bishops had been accused of sexual abuse at a parish but did not inform the public until this week, despite repeated vows to disclose such information.
The archdiocese, which over the years has paid out a record $740 million in settlements to victims of priest abuse, had promised to publicize the names of clergy accused of wrongdoing. But Bishop Alexander Salazar’s name was not on several lists released by the church, even though he’d been investigated by the Pasadena Police Department in 2002. The inquiry involving Salazar only became public when Pope Francis accepted his resignation Wednesday as auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles.
According to prosecutors and police, Salazar was accused of committing a lewd act with a child in the 1990s. The archdiocese said the allegations were made by a family who attended the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Pasadena, where Salazar served as a pastor from 1988 to 1992. The family didn’t go to police until 2002, during the height of the priest abuse scandal. Detectives investigated and submitted their findings to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which decided not to file charges.
In 2004, Pope John Paul II elevated Salazar to the position of bishop. The archdiocese said its officials were not informed about the Pasadena investigation until 2005. But Pasadena police on Wednesday indicated at least some in the church might have known sooner. The department said the incident involving Salazar was said to have occurred at a private residence. But officials made “contact with the church and the school, in an abundance of caution, as they employed the individual against whom the complaint was made,” the department said in a statement to The Times.
Once senior officials learned of the allegations, the archdiocese referred the matter to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which investigates clergy sexual misconduct, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said in a letter to the parishioners Wednesday.
The congregation “imposed certain precautionary measures” on Salazar, who remained a bishop.
Full story at Patheos.