Much to the chagrin of the Catholic hierarchy, my documentary film, "Deliver Us From Evil" has suddenly caught the attention of the national media. Saturday's New York Times (10/7/06) published a front page story reporting that Los Angeles law enforcements officials are considering a criminal case again Cardinal Roger Mahony. And just last night, ABC's Nightline ran a piece entitled, "The Sins of the Father," which asked, "Will a powerful cardinal now face criminal charges?"
The issue of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests is not going away. A fourth American diocese - Davenport, Iowa - just today filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The New York Times reported, "Like those dioceses and others nationwide, Davenport has been hit hard by accusations that its leaders failed to supervise and discipline priests who engaged in misconduct with young boys and girls." Of course, those who were the hardest hit were the thousands of victims of priest abuse who have yet to receive justice.
One of the most important dimensions of this on-going crisis is the continuing cover-up by the Catholic establishment. And it's not working. The truth will come out and more dioceses and bishops will end up in court and in bankruptcy. Rather than come clean and acknowledge the truth of their past actions, the bishops and their spokespeople continue to deny and evade, hiding behind high-paid lawyers and behaving more like mouthpieces for Enron than for a religious institution that supposedly teaches mercy and compassion.
Tod Tamberg, the spokesperson for the Los Angeles archdiocese, has viciously attacked my film, saying that it rests solely on the credibility of convicted pedophile, Father Oliver O'Grady. Well, DELIVER US FROM EVIL does not depend only on O'Grady's account. I interviewed many others who independently verified that Mahony was aware of O'Grady's behavior and did nothing to stop it, except move the accused priest from parish to parish. There are many letters and even police reports that prove that Mahony, while the Bishop of Stockton, knew about O'Grady's behavior and still took no action to remove him from the priesthood.
Yes, O'Grady is a convicted pedophile, but so far, his statements about how the Catholic Church handled him have been verified. We should not accept what O'Grady says on blind faith, but examine the record carefully. And we should not accept the statements of Cardinal Mahony either. Just watch the footage of Mahony's deposition in my film if you want to see someone evading the tough questions.
Church leaders are not outside the law, not in the United States. So far, no Catholic official has faced criminal charges with regard to the on-going priest sexual abuse epidemic. Yet, by many estimates, over 100,000 people were molested by priests over the last few decades.
Perhaps in Los Angeles, the victims will find justice. Click on this link to the Map of Clergy Abuse on the "Deliver Us from Evil" website and you'll begin to get a visual sense of the devastating and widespread effects of the crisis.
Here's an exclusive clip from the film: