LOS ANGELES, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A member of Cardinal Roger Mahony's inner circle says the Los Angeles prelate issued instructions to delay reporting a priest's sexual misconduct to police.
Documents indicate that Monsignor Richard Loomis, former vicar of clergy for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, testified before a grand jury that Mahony directed him to hold off reporting sex abuse allegations against now-defrocked priest Michael Baker to authorities, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said the testimony is the first to directly implicate Mahony in a grand jury investigation probing possible church cover-ups, during which the cardinal has fought to withhold documents and has launched a public relations campaign to build his image as a reformer.
Loomis testified he wrote a memo to Mahony advocating calling the police when he discovered in the 1990s that Baker was still performing baptisms despite orders to discontinue ministry over earlier child sexual misconduct allegations. He said Mahony initially replied with a memo agreeing, "but then through the general counsel's office I was told ... that we were going to wait."
Loomis's testimony indicated for the first time that a "paper trail" exists in the Baker case, the Times said.