The California attorney general’s office will review how the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has handled sexual abuse allegations, including whether it followed mandatory reporting requirements to law enforcement, according to a letter reviewed by The Times.
The letter, dated Thursday, from Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to Archbishop Jose Gomez, requests that church officials preserve an array of documents related to clergy abuse allegations.
The investigation marks a major escalation in the abuse scandal, which has resulted in massive settlements for victims and criminal charges against individual priests but not the larger institutions.
It’s unclear whether Becerra’s office is also seeking records from other California dioceses. But one source told The Times that other dioceses were being contacted by the attorney general.
Other states’ attorneys general have requested or subpoenaed dioceses’ records on clergy, but Becerra’s request goes further, also asking for records about cases involving non-clergy personnel, such as volunteers and staffers. According to the letter, Becerra is seeking records from the archdiocese, including:
• All allegations of sexual misconduct toward minors that the archdiocese received from 1996 to the present, regardless of when the alleged misconduct took place.
• Any actions taken from 1996 to the present against any individual within the purview of the archdiocese who was accused of sexual misconduct toward a minor or who failed to report allegations of sexual abuse to appropriate law enforcement authorities.
• Individuals who have been the subject of any allegation of sexual misconduct toward a minor who are still active in the ministry.
• All reports of alleged sexual misconduct toward a minor filed by the archdiocese in compliance with the law from 1996 to the present.
• For any individual accused of sexual molestation of a minor, any and all files maintained by the archdiocese about the individual, including “secret archives,” personnel files, litigation files, victim or review board files.
• Any and all policies, procedures, documents or communications regarding the archdiocese’s compliance with the laws.
Full story at Los Angeles Times.
Update 5/6/19: Attorney General Becerra is now looking into all dioceses in the state of California.