Accused priests' files show how LA church hierarchy controlled damage, kept followers in dark

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Documents released as part of a lawsuit against the Los Angeles archdiocese show the recently retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other church officials shielded abusive priests from investigation to protect the church from the engulfing scandal.

The files show leaders moved priests out of state, handled damage control and consulted with accused priests behind the scenes.

Those types of details have emerged elsewhere, but the LA documents also contain criticism from a top official who condemned leaders for keeping followers in the dark rather than protecting children.

The pages were filed with a motion seeking punitive damages for the alleged victim of another priest.

The archdiocese is expected to release 30,000 pages on nearly 90 priests within weeks, per a 2007 settlement agreement.

Mahony was out of town but issued a statement Monday apologizing for his mistakes.