Jan 28, 2006

"It was Mahony against all the victims"

"This was a period of time when the Church and Cardinal Mahony were doing their best to camouflage and bury the crimes that these pedophile priests committed. I felt it was the Church and Mahony against all the victims. And I felt so alone."

So testified Mark B. on Friday in the trial of Michael Wempe, 66, the former priest whom Cardinal Mahony turned loose on the public despite knowing Wempe was accused of sex crimes against boys.

Wempe has admitted molesting Mark B. and one of Mark B.'s brothers (and 11 other boys), but denies fondling their younger brother Jayson B., now 28, in the former priest's office at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the early 1990s. Wempe cannot be prosecuted for the crimes he admits committing because in 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court declared they happened too long ago.

Trying not to cry, Jayson B. testified against Wempe for two hours, painting a graphic picture of the former priest's alleged acts. "I hate Wempe," he said.

Earlier, during jury selection, one potential juror, a woman, said, "My stomach was in such turmoil since I found out what this case was about that I could hardly sleep last night. I found it repulsive." Another woman in the jury pool exclaimed, "My God, how can anyone do that to somebody?

The Cardinal sent Wempe to be chaplain at Cedars after the then-priest got "treatment" at a center in New Mexico. Wempe's lawyer, Leonard Levine, says Wempe was "cured" and has not preyed on any more young men since then.

Funny how Wempe admits the crimes he is off the hook for, but denies committing the crimes he can be prosecuted for.


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