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Calif. AG Opens Investigation Into LA Archdiocese Over Handling Of Sex Abuse Allegations

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The California attorney general's office will review how the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has handled sexual abuse allegations.

In a letter from state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to Archbishop Jose Gomez dated Thursday and obtained by the Los Angeles Times, church officials are asked to preserve an array of documents related to clergy abuse allegations.

It's unclear whether Becerra's office is also seeking records from other California dioceses. Officials from the archdiocese and the attorney general's office could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

"The California Department of Justice is conducting a review of your archdiocese's handling of sexual misconduct allegations involving children, including whether your archdiocese has adequately reported allegations of sexual misconduct, as required under California's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act," the letter stated, according to the Times.

For nearly two decades, the archdiocese has been roiled by allegations that onetime church leaders mishandled clergy abuse cases, sometimes moving clergy suspected of wrongdoing to other parishes rather than punishing them and informing law enforcement.

The L.A. Archdiocese has paid a record $740 million in various settlements to victims and had pledged to better protect its church members. Gomez succeeded longtime Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who faced criticism for his handling of the scandal.

Last month, the L.A. Archdiocese reached an $8 million settlement over a lawsuit in which an athletic director and coach at an all-girls Catholic school in San Gabriel was convicted of sexually abusing a 15-year-old student and then running off with her to Nevada. It was the largest individual settlement by a local church in a sex abuse case.

In December, the L.A. archdiocese updated its list of clergy accused of molesting children for the first time in a decade.

In August of 2018, a grand jury report was released which detailed how church officials in Pennsylvania covered up the abuse of over 1,000 children by some 300 pedophile priests.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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