Secret Religious Order Files Reveals Extent Of Abuse By Clergy Members In Los Angeles

on August 01 2013 11:19 AM
Catholic Church
Unsealed documents report on the sexual abuse of a dozen priest, brothers and nuns accused of sexual abuse in Los Angeles. Wikimedia Commons

The unsealed files from five religious orders, totaling close to 2,000 pages, reveal decades of abuse by priests, nuns and brothers working in Los Angeles. The files were unsealed as part of a 2007 $660 million settlement agreement and more files will be unsealed later this year.

The Los Angeles Times reports the documents that were unsealed include transcripts of Rev. Ruben Martinez’s, 73, therapy sessions as well reports filed on a dozen clergy members accused of sexual abuse.  The newspaper reports the documents were unsealed as part of a settlement reached by the Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles as part of a class action lawsuit that included hundreds of individuals alleging sexual misconduct. An additional 45 religious orders will release their own records relating to sexual abuse allegations in the fall.

The unsealed documents contain everything from daily administrative records, vacation requests and updates on various church projects. The Los Angeles Times reports a sense of “reluctance” when it came to documenting allegations of sexual abuse, with the documents using couched or vague terms to describe allegations or problem priests. One supervisor even wrote about the allegations against Rev. Ruben Martinez in Japanese while other parts of the note are in English.

Almost a third of the unsealed documents, 500 pages, contain reports on Martinez and include his therapy sessions which revealed the extent of his sexual misconducts, reports the Associated Press. In his therapy sessions, Martinez confessed to molesting his 5-year-old brother, 100 other boys, visiting gay strip clubs and having sex with male prostitutes, reports AP.  Martinez claims he stopped any sexual contact with minors in 1986 and was removed from service within parishes by 1991 and was assigned to administrative positions prior to his retirement. The documents regarding Martinez can be read here, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

Martinez’s file also include reports on the amount of money the Oblates, the order he served under, spent trying to cure Martinez and relocating him to various parishes in California. According to AP, the Oblates spent tens of thousands of dollars on treatment for Martinez.

The documents pertaining to the two orders of nuns are the first ever to be released, reports the Los Angeles Times. Although the files were released there were no reports on the two nuns accused of sexual abuse. All of the abuse allegations occurred between 1950 and 1980, notes AP, and the two accused nuns are deceased.

The documents pertaining to the two nuns did not contain any mention of sexual abuse but Ray Boucher, an attorney the represents several of the abuse victims, believes that does not mean there was no misconduct. “Much of this went unreported. You're talking about kids that were terrorized and frightened in so many different ways, with no place and no one to turn to,” said Boucher to AP.

The unsealed documents are different than those released by the Los Angeles archdiocese in Jan. and provide a fuller picture of the sexual abuse within the church. The Oblates, the Marianists, the Benedictines, the Cabrini Sisters and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet had priests, brothers and nuns working for them and members within these orders did not had their own record keeping system and did not report sexual abuse allegations to the archbishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese.

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