What did the Cardinal know, and when did he know it?
This is why, he also wants us to believe, in 1988 he assigned Michael Wempe to the chaplain's office at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after the priest completed six months of "treatment." And why the Cardinal left Wempe there till 2002, when the clergy sex volcano erupted nationwide and the prelate just happened to ask him to retire.
But there's one small problem with what the Cardinal wants us to believe: in 1985, three years before he returned Wempe to ministry, he and every other U.S. bishop received a secret, 92-page report telling them to sack accused priests immediately, turn them in to the police, and never to send a proven molester out to a new parish (L.A. New Times, May 16, 2002).
There's more: the 1985 document said child molesters have little chance of being cured.
The Cardinal, to be sure, sent Wempe to a hospital, not a parish. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle (May 17, 2002), he did shuffle Fr. Michael Baker among nine different parishes even after Baker had admitted to Mahony in 1986 that he had molested boys.
And, flouting the report to the bishops, the Cardinal never reported Baker to the cops; he sent him for therapy. Plus, in 2000 he secretly paid $1.3 million to two men whom Baker allegedly victimized as boys from 1984 till 1999. The Chronicle article says the Cardinal has told three different stories about his 1986 meeting with Baker.
Oh, one more thing: the secret 1985 report warned the bishops that sex abuse cases could cost the Church in the U.S. $1 billion within 10 years. As U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen used to say, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money!"