LOS ANGELES, March 29 (UPI) -- A hotline established by the Los Angeles Police Department has been fielding a steady influx of calls reporting alleged molestations by Roman Catholic priests, many of which apparently occurred years ago.
Cmdr. Gary Brennan told reporters Friday afternoon that the department was taking a hard look at potential crimes committed by members of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' clergy. While the church has assured police officials that there had been a full accounting of incidents of sexual wrongdoing, the telephone hotline has been bringing in new accusations from adults about alleged incidents that occurred in their childhood.
"The majority of the calls are from adults who were victimized as children," said Brennan.
Detectives from the child-abuse unit were checking their case files Friday after being given a list of priests dismissed by the archdiocese over the years because of complaints that they had molested children.
The names were turned over to the LAPD after Police Chief Bernard Parks sent a formal request on Monday to Cardinal Roger Mahony, who heads up the huge Los Angeles archdiocese.
"The Los Angeles Police Department takes very seriously, any and all allegations of crimes against children," Police spokesman Sgt. John Pasquariello said in a statement Friday. "Recent news reports that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had dismissed several priests following allegations they sexually abused minors prompted the department to begin an investigation."
Pasquariello added that information about any incidents that occurred outside Los Angeles would be passed on to the appropriate jurisdictions. The Los Angeles archdiocese includes Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties as well as Los Angeles County.
Mahony had said during a Mass on Monday evening in Long Beach that he did not plan to publicly release the names of what he termed a small number of priests because he feared it would reopen the wounds of victims that had been healing, in some cases, for several years.
In a written response to Parks, Mahony said that the priests in question had been "duly reported" to law enforcement authorities at the time the incidents took place.
"They were prosecuted and served probation many years ago," Mahony wrote. "These cases are a matter of public record and are known to your detectives."
Mahony has said he would not comment further on the nationwide sex scandal rippling through the Roman Catholic church until after Easter.