Los Angeles Archbishop Accused of Obstruction of Justice in Child Abuse Cases (CA Penal Code 288)

It’s common knowledge that the Catholic Church has had a hard time over the last several decades keeping the parishioners’ trust in the profession of being a priest.  This is due to the fact that there are so many cases of child molestation associated with this particular faith that the general public has begun to think of these incidences as routine.  One thing that the Church has always claimed, however, is that they work as hard as they can to prevent such abuses of power and of children.  This was clearly not the case for Archbishop (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) in Los Angeles.

The case in point is 26 years old and the priest who was convicted of sexually assaulting (CA Penal Code 288)more than 26 different altar boys was visiting from Mexico for a ten-month period at the time.  The Archbishop’s part in this particular drama is that he purposefully withheld a list of the altar boys names from investigating officers in 1988, when the case came to light.

In the state of California, withholding evidence is considered to be a violation of due process.  This is not considered a crime.  However, obstruction of justice is considered a crime according to federal law.  (18 US Code 1510) states that anyone who “prevents the communication of information relating to a violation of any criminal statute of the United State by any person to a criminal investigator” will face a fine and up to 5 years in federal prison.  It is unclear whether or not Archbishop will be charged with any crime, especially as the case occurred so long ago.  In fact, the only reason that this information was discovered is because he was asked to give a deposition recently in relation to the $13 million settlement for 17 of the victims of both 5 priests.