L.A. cardinal's trip to Rome draws scrutiny

By Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson

(CBS News) NEW YORK - About 116 cardinals will vote for the new pope. Eleven are American -- including Cardinal Roger Mahony of California. But there are Catholics in both Los Angeles and Italy demanding Mahony stay away because of his role in shielding sexually abusive priests.

Cardinal Roger Mahony led the Los Angeles archdiocese, the largest in the United States for 25 years. He retired in 2011.

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On Saturday, Mahony was deposed for a lawsuit filed by a 35-year-old man who claims he was the victim of sexual abuse in the 1980s. The suit alleges that church leaders allowed the accused priest to leave the United States to avoid prosecution. The priest remains a fugitive in Mexico.

Earlier this February, the Los Angeles archdiocese released more than 12,000 pages of files documenting a pattern in which Mahony and other church officials reassigned many accused priests away from California -- shielding them from law enforcement authorities in the 1980s.

As America's senior cardinal, Mahony will lead the U.S. delegation to Rome to participate in the election of the next pope. He has been actively tweeting about his upcoming trip:

"@Cardinal Mahony Just a few short hours before my departure for Rome. Will be tweeting often from Rome, except during the actual conclave itself. Prayers!"

That tweet however has been met by mostly negative responses:

"I pray you skip the conclave since you protect child rapists."

"Please stay home and leave the conclave to the faithful."

So far, Mahony has not responded to those critics on Twitter.

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