A priest in Los Angeles confessed to a horrific string of atrocities, including molesting over 100 young boys and visiting male prostitutes while serving for years in a California parish, recently released documents reveal.
Ruben Martinez’s confession is part of nearly 2,000 pages of documents highlighting years of sexual abuse by priests, brothers and nuns in the Los Angeles archdiocese. As part of a 2007, $660 million settlement, the papers give a glimpse into the complicity of the L.A. archdioceses into the abuses cases that have plagued much of the Catholic Church for over a decade.
The graphic details compiled from therapy notes and psychiatric investigations of Martinez are some of the most gruesome and damning accounts of sexual abuse in the L.A. dioceses. They tell the tale of how Martinez was shuttled in and out of programs and treatment centers and the thousands of dollars that his religious order, the Oblates, spent trying to “cure” him of self-admitted pedophilia.
A report from 1993 revealed that Martinez began molesting children in the early 1970s by playing “giddy up” games with them on his lap. He allegedly stopped “direct sexual contact” with young boys in 1982, when a mother of one of the children complained, and stopped touching boys altogether after another complaint in 1986.
His religious order bounced him around from various treatment centers and parishes throughout the years as Martinez continued to draw complaints and suspicions from parents and children. While serving at a small parish in Westmorland, Calif., Martinez would drive for miles into San Diego to pick up male prostitutes.
In 1993, he was moved to then Oblates’ offices in Oakland and enrolled in a sex offender program. But soon after, another complaint surfaced and he was put in administrative roles for the rest of his career.
While Martinez has not faced criminal charges, one man – who asked the Daily Mail newspaper for anonymity – sued for abuse.
“He would have us wrestle each other and then wrestle with him, which means we'd get down into our skivvies and he'd take pictures of us. He was always taking pictures,” the man said, according to the Daily Mail. “I just remember the smell of the old Polaroid flash cubes. He would go through them like crazy.”
While working at his order headquarters in Washington D.C., Martinez was also reprimanded multiple times for making sexual jokes, looking at sexually suggestive pictures of young boys on the Internet and downloading a floppy disk filled with “references to topics dealing with the gay lifestyle.”
“It has not been easy to face what I did, to admit it and to talk about it with others,” Martinez wrote to the order's provincial in 2006. “I have had to deal with depression, self-hatred, the inability and unwillingness to forgive myself, and the desire and tendency to isolate.”