ROME (CBSLA.com) — A woman who claims she was sexually abused by her parish priest as a child traveled to Rome to protest retired Cardinal Roger Mahony’s participation in the papal conclave.
Barbara Dorris, 65, said she is outraged that Mahony, who led the Los Angeles Archdiocese for 25 years until 2011, is one of 115 cardinals who will select a new pope in the wake of allegations he helped conceal child sex abuse involving hundreds of priests.
“Cardinal Mahony…this man has been complicit in the cover-up all over in Los Angeles, yet he’ll be here and have a vote,” Dorris told KCAL9’s Suraya Fadel.
Dorris continued, “There are letters, there are documents, that said he made some very bad… if not criminal…choices. We feel he should have had the decency to stay home. He has been implicated in so many cover-ups. How could you then come and say, ‘I’m the best person to help elect a spiritual leader. A person who will clean up this mess and help restore the church’s reputation?’”
The 65-year-old said she hopes the cardinals choose a pope who will punish those involved with the sex abuse scandal, including Mahony.
“It isn’t going to be easy to clean up the mess. The most important step is that the new pope will finally discipline those that have been complicit in the cover-up,” Dorris said. “As long as wrongdoers suffer no consequences for what they’ve done, they’ll continue to do it.”
Tod Tamberg, the head of media relations for the LA Archdiocese, said Mahony has owned up to his mistakes.
“Cardinal Mahony has admitted he’s made some mistakes in the past, but he also learned from his mistakes. What you have in Los Angeles now is a record of great protection of children,” said Tamberg.
Mahony, who went to Vatican City for the last papal election in 2005, said via Twitter and on his blog that he was asked to be a part of the conclave process.